The Elusive Balancing Act Called Life

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The dictionary defines balance as a ‘state of equilibrium’. Attaining that elusive equilibrium, however, is one of the biggest conundrums in the context of ‘work life balance’. While the importance of pursuing interests outside of ‘work’ has been stressed enough, compartmentalising work and life might seem unrealistic. The inference that work is not in harmony with living life can be disconcerting to most. Especially, the ones who have dedicated their lives to pursuing their passion, work doesn’t seem like ‘work’.

It isn’t to say of course that there haven’t been grounds to fight the case for ‘life’ against work. In a study of high earners, management writers Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce revealed that 35% worked an excess of 60 hours a week, and 10 percent worked more than 80 hours compared to a traditional 40-hours a week. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Incidentally, the idiom appeared first in James Howell’s Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish, 1659!

Over two decades ago, in September 1996, Bryan Dyson, the then President and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises had delivered his famous Georgia Tech 172nd Commencement Address. In it, he had equated managing work-life balance as juggling rubber and glass balls.

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

Clearly, there is much time-tested wisdom in those words. Now, more than ever before, there are leaders, super achievers across arenas, who are increasingly sharing stories of how they are managing to accomplish much more across aspects of their life. Sharing a new perspective of living life freely. Free to pursue our limitless potential through a purpose-driven life. We all are seeking the method to the madness. Perhaps, there isn’t a tailor-made one. Much like a science that will evolve continuously. Or an art that will reflect changing times while borrowing lessons from the past. Its only witness will be extraordinary lives that rise against all odds redefining human potential.

It is here that our endeavour at CXO Life comes to the fore of chronicling stories of fervour, grit and raw passion for living life and celebrating it. Life, as they say, is a journey and not a destination. Bon voyage!

CXO Life is looking for stories of accomplished leaders with a relentless passion for some cause or interest. Share with us your story and let it spin its web of inspiration! Do write in to us on what makes you itch to do what you do – getintouch@cxolife.com

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