Now that I’m working again, I’ve been trying to balance my life between working and writing, and all the other things I like to do in my spare time.
Let me tell you, it ain’t easy.
Balance isn’t really something you think of when you’re living the American Dream: working all day, bringing home a paycheck as will pay the bills and still leave you with your party favours. It’s so easy to go from one day to the next, just working, just living, just existing, just surviving. It’s TOO easy.
But just existing isn’t enough. It doesn’t get you fulfillment. It doesn’t give you a life to reflect on and be proud of, and as human beings we are hardwired to seek fulfillment. We need a positive experience. We need to care. We need to fight out darker nature.
The question then is how to balance the life of what must be done, with the life of what we want to do. One gets you through, one gives you fulfillment. And I’m not talking about the desire to sit around and play xbox, or go out partying, or sit and read a good book. Those things are important; but what I’m talking about is what REALLY brings you fulfillment. What REALLY matters to you. It’s your forte; your niche. It’s what gets you excited.
But if you live that consistent life of work, eat, sleep and nothing else, you won’t find fulfillment.
What you need is BALANCE.
The world is built with it. It keeps the trees green, the sky blue, the lakes placid, the rivers violent. It’s what IS and what ISN’T. It’s the first, the last, and always the same. Balance is the clock that ticks. It’s Fate, if you will.
When you live a balanced life, you have time. Right now you might think, well I’d love to write that story, or read that book, or see Paris, or go visit the relatives, or build that engine sitting in the garage, but I just don’t have the time. WRONG. You do have the time. You always have the time. Your problem is not that the time isn’t there, it’s that you’re not utilizing it.
But to utilize it requires self discipline, and that’s a tricky thing. Everyone knows what it’s like to not have it. That’s when you feel held back from doing what you always wanted to do, what you find fulfilling. Steve Pressfield would call it Resistance. It stands in your way, sucking away your time, telling you that you just don’t have what it takes.
But self discipline, on the other hand, (when you have it) is like all the power of a storm flowing through you. Suddenly you have the time you need. Suddenly you feel good about yourself. Suddenly you feel fulfilled, like all your dreams are within your reach.
Here’s what I’m saying: self-discipline=fulfillment.
Lucky for you, I’m going to tell you how to find self-discipline. It’s actually incredibly easy to find, the trouble is holding on to it. Just pick your worst habit, the very worst, the one that makes you shake your head at yourself every time you think of it. Take that, and change it. Just make it different, make it better. It could be the way you sit, it could be the way you talk, it could be sleeping in, it could be staying up late, it could be the way you swear at the guy who just cut in front of you on your way to work. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just has to be so ingrained within you that you hardly even think about it. It’s gotta be a part of you. It’s not easy to change it, but that’s what self-discipline is, taking hold of your life by the horns and turning it a different direction.
Then stick with it. For as long as it takes until you have changed your habit. Don’t let yourself go back. If you stick with it, it only gets easier. If you revert, it gets harder. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.
When you find yourself doing something different at times when that habit would have kicked in, you know you’ve beaten it. You know you’ve begun to find balance. But that’s only the first step. Every life is filled with those bad habits, even though some of them are so small we don’t notice them at all. But they’ve all got to be changed in order to find balance.
Maybe your worst habit is what’s holding you back from fulfillment, maybe it’s not. But once you have self-discipline and control of your life, you can change anything about yourself. When I say there are no limits, I mean, THERE ARE NO BLOODY LIMITS!
There’s a quote from Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” Take it at heart. You don’t get anywhere by not trying. You don’t find fulfillment by saying, “I don’t have time.” Nothing comes for free, but when you believe in yourself and you work hard, it comes pretty damn close.