In previous posts I’ve told you about the fallacy of seeking balance in your life. I can only imagine that many people who are reading this post as well as this entire category are doubting my sanity. How can so many people be so wrong? Or, Kevin, what makes you think you have it right when all the world sees it differently?
Let me share a story with you…
There’s a story of an early 20th century clockmaker whose shop was located on the main town square of a remote Swiss village. Surrounding the square were numerous merchants, a large church, the town hall, and public art gallery.
Every day hundreds of the local villagers and travelers passed by the windows of the clock shop. Over the years, the clockmaker noticed a very punctual man who every day at 8:25 AM would stop in front of the clock shop, remove his pocket watch, check the time, and then reset his watch as needed. One day the clockmaker went outside to strike up a conversation with the punctual man in hopes of selling him a new and more accurate timepiece.
What the clockmaker learned left him unwound. The punctual man was the town hall superintendent who oversaw the bell tower that faithfully chimed the time on the hour. The superintendent set his watch to the clockmaker’s clocks so the town’s official time on the bell tower was accurate.
Indeed, it was very flattering for the clockmaker. The only problem was the clockmaker set his clocks to the town hall bell tower every day at noon just before he closed for lunch!
Each man dutifully, diligently, and faithfully fulfilled his responsibility. Yet, this closed system of synchronization over years was flawed. The clockmaker wondered, How many minutes off the correct time is the entire town?
Take heart, you are not alone in the closed loop of "work life balance" buy-ins. Ask your friends if they think work life balance is important. You know the answer. Of course they do. Why? Because that’s what they’ve been taught, accepted, and sought as the gold standard of the good life. They’ve bought this closed loop lie about the successful life. Just like you, they’ve beat themselves up for years striving to obtain life balance and failing.
You’re actually in high company. Some of the largest corporations in America are heavily investing in Corporate Work Life Balance programs in hopes of attracting and retaining the best and the brightest talent. Let’s applaud the intent and effort, but differ with their ideal.
Rejoice, however, as your efforts are redeemable and will compound in your favor faster than you thought possible. Don’t let having invested the better part of your adult life pursuing a meaningless ideal get you even further down. I promise that there’s light in the darkness. Finally, you can break the cycle, free your mind, and open your heart to new and better possibilities. Refuse to be stuck striving for the insanity standard.
I’ve written extensively about this concept in my blog because the ideal life being one of balancing life and work is such a perpetuated and embedded concept in the popular culture.