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Balanced or outstanding, which life will you live?

Can I achieve outstanding things and live a balanced life simultaneously? Or does focusing on balance automatically lead to a life of mediocracy?

Balance is an essential value in my life. I don't veer on the extremes. I'm not a slacker, but I'm no workaholic, either. I love doing sports, mostly because I enjoy moving my body and because it keeps me fit, but I don't feel the urge to compete against anyone other than myself in a sporting event. I like my job, and I'm grateful I can earn a living by doing mostly work I enjoy, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm the happiest when I can make it back home in time to have dinner with my family.

Now, that's all well and good. But I sometimes ask myself if there's a limit to what I can accomplish while striving for a balanced life. Valuing balance doesn't mean I have no ambitions and aspirations.

I guess there are two ways of looking at it. The first way considers a balanced life dull. Balance leaves you stuck in the grey mud of mediocrity. You never hit rock bottom, true, but you experience no real highs either. Just look at the world; people who achieve wonderful things are rarely known for living a balanced life. They chase their dreams with extreme passion and focus. Balance and equanimity aren't propelling us humans to create great works of art and make ground-breaking discoveries. They don't push society forward and trigger disruptive innovation. As such, balance and equanimity don't inspire greatness.

And here's the second view I'd like to offer. It considers balance the foundation, which allows us to recharge and make sure we have the resources to live an authentic and fulfilled life. It prevents us from burning out, so we have the stamina and energy to keep working on the things that matter to us. Balance fosters equanimity, which allows us to approach life with a positive attitude. This helps us see opportunities as they arise and take advantage of them. Balance becomes the foundation of outstanding accomplishments.

I can't label any of these two views as true or false. They may both be equally valid to different people. It's our choice which view we subscribe to. And the choice we make can greatly influence what we're able to achieve.


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