Mind the Balance

This post will (potentially) close-out the series on Mind Like Water, in the quest to create a life of effortless abundance.

So far, we have covered:

This will hopefully be the icing on the cake.

In prior posts we covered what some may consider boring practices and disciplines, as well as downright HARD WORK.

What’s it all for?

Let’s start by covering a few pointed questions…

Why do you go to work each day? Just because everyone else does? Or, are you working to accomplish something “more”? Something specific in your life?

How LONG do you plan on going to work? Until retirement age, like everyone else? Why?

Taking the steps outlined in posts on this site can lead to incredible outcomes in life, including NOT “having” to work, until retirement age. Covering my own realization of this state is the topic of a future post 🙂

Let’s now discuss the importance of balance.

While we are working HARD on ourselves and on our career, we must NOT forget the balance.

One thing that has gone a long way for me is realizing the fact that the most precious things in life came to us 100% free-of-charge. Our life, health, family, friends, the world we live in, the air we breath, etc. And, we should NOT take these gifts for granted.

As a result, the balance that I worked out, for my life, involved establishing a set of priorities, in the following order:

  1. God (spirituality)
  2. Health (mental and physical)
  3. Family
  4. Work / Vocation
  5. Finance / Resources
  6. Community
  7. Recreation

Why these priorities? Well, you asked 🙂

God (spirituality)

I believe that…

  • If it weren’t for God (you may use a different name or label) we quite simply would not be here.
  • The world is an incredibly miraculous place. The complete interdependence we have with nature and each other is absolutely astonishing: something I believe didn’t “just happen.”
  • There is a supreme intelligence behind our world of perfect balance.
  • We are spiritual beings having a (temporary) human experience.
  • I’d rather believe in God and learn there isn’t one, than not believe and find out there is (and get torched 🙂 )

The reality is, we humans have a habit of hosing things up – royally!

I don’t believe this is God’s fault.

He made no robots who are mere drones following instructions to destruction. We each were given a choice, in terms of how we live our lives, and hold dominion over our little piece of the world. We make mistakes. Lots of mistakes.

And, if we believe, we are forgiven…You can read about that promise, by clicking here.

Given the above, it seems crucially important, to me, to honor “our” maker.

Yeah, there are plenty of reasons to disbelieve (not having faith in) a higher power. So many questions like:

  • How could God let that happen?
  • What about this person who claims to be among the faithful? Just look at what they did?

And so on.

I don’t claim to know answers to these questions.

But, there are, in my mind, more reasons to believe. So many questions like:

  • How could that little baby be so perfectly formed?
  • How does my body consistently heal after the many (minor and major) injuries sustained?
  • How does this little, tiny planet that we live on maintain its place in the vast universe without careening out of control?
  • Why does EVERY society in history KNOW and acknowledge a higher power (of some sort), and there is only a relative “handful” who completely disbelieve…

And so on.

I don’t claim to know answers to these questions either.

I just have faith that there is a plan. His plan. And, I’m fine with it.

Health (Mental and Physical)

I must admit, prioritizing this “above” family was at first a struggle for me. I settled on the fact that if I don’t mind my mental and physical health I will be of no use to my family, or anyone else. So, I’d start there.

That said, I maintain a commitment that if, in a rare circumstance, I had to give up some aspect of my health for a loved one, I’d do so. And, because I’ve hopefully taken good care of my health up to that point, I’d have more to give. So there 🙂

So, what does this involve?

Maintaining mental health, to me, means constantly challenging and stimulating my mind with positive / constructive input. Seeking new views and vistas, experiencing and learning new things. This, by the way, drives my wife crazy 🙂

Maintaining physical health involves eating right, getting enough rest and lots of exercise. I like mine outdoors, preferably in the woods…

This may all seem like motherhood and apple pie. But, it is absolutely crucial to maintaining a balance. We’ve all heard stories of people who gave up their health to achieve wealth, only to have to give up their wealth (pay a high price) in an attempt to recover their health.

I’d rather work on maintaining a balance to avoid that unfortunate outcome.

Family

I have found that the most precious “thing” that we can provide our family is time. Because, once it is gone it cannot be retrieved – EVER.

During my years of climbing the corporate ladder I “did my best” to be:

  • Home to eat dinner with my family each night
  • Involved by:
    • Leading Cub Scouts
    • Coaching baseball and basketball (more of an assist in basketball, as I’m pretty clueless in that sport)
    • Attending their games and events
    • Dating my wife constantly 🙂
    • Doing what “they” like to do…

I’m far from perfect. Just ask my kids. Actually, please don’t 🙂

Regardless, I am so proud of each member of my family for where they are and where they are headed. I don’t think we’d be experiencing this outcome if they had an absentee Dad…And, to confirm, my wife has been an absolutely outstanding “all-in” partner in this whole process!

Work / Vocation

Prior posts cover “Minding the Career” as well as an experience I had balancing work/life. As such, I won’t cover these again here. You can click on both of these topics to read more. It is only referenced as an important aspect of our life that we must balance, amongst others covered here in more detail.

Finance / Resources

We’ve covered a great deal about finance in this series and elsewhere on this site, so we won’t repeat…That said, there are related resources (acquired with our money) that we must attend to. A prime example: our home and yard.

I’ll again refer to an observation made by a pioneer in the field of personal development (Earl Nightingale), which goes something like:

Our environment mirrors our thinking.

This is not meant to indicate that we must have a big fancy house to be considered good or valuable. That really has NOTHING to do with it. What it IS meant to suggest is that how we take care of our environment (our home and yard, for example) is an indicator of how we think about ourselves and the world around us.

Earl goes on to say…

It is interesting to me how the hardest working people in society seem to have the neatest and tidiest yards, while those who are unemployed don’t seem to have time to take care of their surroundings. Their yards are often riddled with rubbish and debris…

The meaning this observation has to me is that we all have our own little corner of this awesome planet. It could be our bedroom, office, apartment, duplex, condo, mobile home or house. Regardless of the size or value it is our responsibility to take care of that little corner of the planet that we rent, own or otherwise occupy.

Why?

We simply cannot have our own little portion of the world looking like a dung-heap and expect to be able to think straight in other important aspects of our life. It is ALL related and part of the balance.

Community

Our community (next door neighbors to the greater community) is an important aspect of our life. We may not agree with everything our local or national government decides. But, we have a choice: to sit on the sidelines and do nothing, complain, or provide a positive contribution in areas that fit our personality, availability, skills and desires.

For me, this has involved a number of things, including participating in:

  • Cub Scouts
  • Town recreation department sports
  • Church
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Industry Associations
  • Etc.

I’ve come to realize that these organizations don’t just magically happen. We each have something to contribute. Our time, talents and abilities go a LONG way towards positively impacting others’ lives.

It may initially seem like a hassle coming home from a long day’s work to then have to lead a Cub Scout meeting with a bunch of rambunctious boys. However, after about 5 minutes into the gathering you will have completely forgotten the STRESS accumulated that day. It simply dissipates without our even acknowledging it.

And, our boys recently made a very interesting observation, when they agreed: “Most of the kids we were in Cub Scouts with are doing pretty well in life.” This, in contrast with “many” who weren’t part of this awesome, character-building program…Something to think about…

Recreation

While it may be last on the list, this area is my favorite.

When I think recreation I think of doing things that result in a complete reboot of the brain. Activities that, in the process, you absolutely cannot think about anything else, or you may get hurt 🙂

Examples include:

  • Mountain Biking (at the top of my list 🙂 )
  • Skiing
  • Competing in an annual “Survivor” event
  • Snorkeling or scuba diving
  • White water rafting
  • Snowmobiling
  • Jet skiing
  • Paintball
  • Rock climbing (so far, the indoor kind)
  • Shooting guns
  • Zip-lining in the jungles of Jamaica and Costa Rica, or the north woods of New Hampshire

And, I find great enjoyment in peaceful activities such as: camping, fishing, hiking or a game of cribbage with my wife (who is my arch-nemesis in the game).

All of the above rejuvenate the spirit, providing a complete loop back to priority #1.

We all have numerous aspects of life to juggle. The most important thing is to maintain a balance.

In closing, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe anyone on this side of eternity does.

My goal is to share what I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks as well as “some” of the positive outcomes realized.

I thank God for all that He has provided! Especially for the challenges, experiences and opportunities that were put before me, which would have come to NOTHING (in my life, at least) if it weren’t for the action taken, in response.

All the best!

7 thoughts on “Mind the Balance

  1. Patrick says:

    excellent post Craig! Thank you for sharing

  2. Craig Bailey says:

    You are welcome! Hope you have a GREAT day!

  3. beaverfood says:

    Great stuff, Craig! Balance is the key here. If any one of our individual priorities takes on an extreme role, like a cancerous growth, causing us to ignore all the others – there will be a price to pay.

  4. […] must be sure to maintain a balance and not make our vocation the central area of focus in our lives. That said, it certainly is NOT a […]

  5. […] continuously invests in oneself (thru ongoing training and education), saves, saves, saves and maintains a balance. On doing so, freedom and flexibility “can be” the outcome! And, this can happen well […]

  6. […] closing, use care to consciously set your life priorities (mine are outlined in an earlier post: Mind The Balance). If you do, and stick with them, you will, you MUST realize the outcome you […]

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