A life lived instyle is also a balanced life. Make sure you pay attention toall the values and dimensions of your life. One is family. If you havesomeone you care about, there is nothing to match that. One person caringfor another is life at its best. Protect that relationship with a vengeance. If any obstacle gets in the way; if any hindrance gets in the way; if any roadblock gets in way; tear down these things.
It was wisely said long ago, but is still true today: “There are manytreasures, but the greatest of these is love.” Family must be cultivated like an enterprise, like a garden.Time, effort, imagination, creativity, and genius must be summonedconstantly to keep your family relationships flourishing and growing.
The next dimension of life is friendship. Friends are those incredible people who know all about you and still likeyou. Friends are those people who stay by your side when everyone else isleaving. As someone once suggested, “Be sure to make the kind of friendson your way up who will take you in on your way down.” Life is a bit ofboth up and down, but with true friends—friends who care regardless ofyour circumstances—the ups are even more fantastic and the downs are lessdevastating.
Friendship is so vitally important to those in search of the good life.Make sure your friendships get the attention and the effort they deserve.Properly nourished, they will give back to you that priceless treasure ofboth pleasure and satisfaction called “the good life.”
Remember, the good life is not measured by material wealth or possessions.The good life is an attitude, an act, an idea, a discovery, a search. The goodlife comes from a lifestyle that is so fully developed—regardless of yourbank account—that it provides you with a constant sense of joy in living. Itfuels the fires of motivation to adopt a lifestyle that makes livingworthwhile. “What is wealth without character, industry without art, quantitywithout quality, enterprise without satisfaction, possession without joy?”
THE BALANCED LIFE
Psychologists have found two major things that we, as human beings, getthe most happiness and satisfaction from. Number one is our work—ourcontribution to society, our continued progress toward reaching our goals,our area of influence and power.
Number two is love, the love we receive from our spouse, our children, ourparents, our families, and our friends. Knowing that one person, or severalpeople, care about us and want to spend time with us is an important factor.
The professional goals that you have outlined for yourself take a lot of work.They require constant learning to improve yourself and develop your skills.Donot expect that your achievements will come to you on a silver platter.Donot work onwhat Jim Rohn calls, “wish-hope-and-prayer philosophy.”
You cannot just expect to come home at night after a long day and expectyour family life to be improving all by itself. You cannot just expect that yourpersonal life will grow and flourish without attention, without your takingthe time to feed and water and weed out the negativity that happens whileyou are away. Creating the perfect personal life takes just as much attentionas creating the perfect professional life. It takes love, nurturing, kindness,sincerity, and caring.And that’s one of the biggest mistakes that occur today. People spend alltheir time, focus all their energy, and give everything they have got to the job.It cannot work that way. Your family requires more than that.
The investment you initially made to your personal relationships is theinvestment you must continue to make. The more you give, the more youget. If you stop giving, guess what—you will probably stop receiving, too.
Work hard. Play hard. Life has to be balanced, or your motivation willsuffer along with your lifestyle.Life without balance can cost you your relationships. Life without balancecan cost you your health. Life without balance can cost you yourspirituality. Life without balance can cost you your wealth and yourhappiness. So find things to motivate you from all areas of life. Yoursuccess depends on it.
THE UNIVERSAL QUEST
George Leonard, inhis book “Mastery,”talks about “enjoying the plateau.”
This is an important point. So often, we find ourselves racing to get ahead,thinking so much about our next achievement that we cannot appreciate thetime in between. We find ourselves losing our motivation.
Happiness is not in the getting. Happiness is in the becoming. Happiness isa universal quest. Happiness is a joy that comes as a result of positiveactivity. It has a wide variety of meanings, a wide variety of interpretations.
Happiness is both the joy of discovery and the joy of knowing. It is theresult of an awareness of the full range of life. It is opening yourself toexperiences, sounds, harmonies, dreams, and goals. It is the joy that comesfrom designing a life that practices the fine art of living well.
Happiness is being able to explore all that life offers. Happiness is quiteoften found in having options—options of doing what you want to, insteadof doing what you have to. The option of living where you wantto, insteadof living where you haveto. The option of looking like you wantto, insteadof settling for what you haveto look like.
Happiness is receiving and sharing, reaping and bestowing. Happiness isfound in taking the time to enjoy what you have accomplished: enjoying theplateau, giving yourself credit when credit is due, patting yourself on theback for a job well done. Happiness is the here and now. Happiness isnot theend result. Happiness is part of the journey.
There is an old saying that goes, “The road to heaven is heaven.” Thehappiness that you are searching for in the future must be found today. Thesuccess you are after in the future will only be found by working on it today.Motivation is generated when there is a balance between the need for activeachievement and the satisfaction in taking the time to acknowledge whatyou have already achieved.
Take the time to reflect while you are enjoying your plateau. And whileyou are reflecting back on your past accomplishments, think aboutsomething else. Think about the potential within you thatis still untapped.Consider the following two questions during your time of reflection.
Number one: what could I have achieved in the past, had I been morediligent? Could I have been more disciplined? Worked smarter instead ofharder? Said “no” more often to social functions and communitycommitments? What could I have achieved in the past, had I tried things alittle differently?
Only you can answer this question. It is very personal. While you arereflecting and enjoying your plateau, dig a littledeeper and see if you cannot be just a bit more effective next time. Work alittle smarter instead of a little harder.
Here is number two: how can I achieve more in the future? If you take sometime to thoughtfully answer question number one, you will probably have aclue as to what is needed in the future.
Do you need to work more diligently? Do you need to be more disciplined?
Do you need to work smarter instead of harder? Do you need to say “no”more often? Do you need to manage your time better?
That is one of the keys to reflection. You can design your future better if you can learn from yourpast. You can face your future with more excitement, more anticipation, andmore motivation when you design a future worth getting excited about. Youcan see your future and have it pull you forward. Just donot forget to patyourself on the back for what you have done so far.