I love this TED talk by Nigel Marsh titled "How to make work-life balance work".
This talk, of course, is much deeper than just achieving a balance between your job, activities, commitments, and favorite hobbies. Nigel explores what we define as "success" and challenges the socially and culturally accepted definition of what it means to have time for "life".
In addition to some interesting anecdotes, Nigel recommends that the reader to do more than just exercise to achieve balance, stating that "a fit 10-hour a day office rat is not more balanced, he's just more fit." Instead, Nigel challenges you to really take charge of YOUR life:
"It's up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives we want to lead. If you don't design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just NOT like their idea of balance. It's particularly important that you NEVER put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial organization."There are lots of parts to life... Physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual. Finding balance across all of these is a challenge, and sometimes requires difficult conversations and transitions. Personally, I found that initiating my current state was incredibly challenging, but now that its in process, I couldn't be more excited about the future. But what took me so long? What held me back for years? In reflection, I think it was a combination of 4 factors:
- Concern about being considered a failure and/or quitter
- Fear of lack of stability
- Worry about acceptance
- Uncertainty about my future
- I came to terms that people might not understand my quest at first and disagree with my decision - ego and confidence maintained
- I built up an incredible support network of friends and family (and also saved money) - stability achieved
- I became involved with in-person and online networks that not only supported social entrepreneurship, but advocated for committing careers to making the world a better place - acceptance earned
- I realized that my old path was not going to be fulfilling for me and I needed to pursue something with greater purpose - garnered the courage to act
- Laughing at racist and sexist jokes encourages repeats and propagation
- Complimenting somebody on their clothes or accessories provides somebody a sense of achievement and worth for the simple act of spending money on material goods
- Awing over a new house or car sends subliminal messages that belonging and praise can be achieved through purchases
- Praising somebody for a promotion in an unfulfilling career, even when its means that that person will work more hours, increases security and rationale to stay on that career path
- Asking "What do you do?" and expecting a job description implies that our belonging and valuation can be based on what organization we work for and the type of work we create
"Perhaps we can even change society... If enough people commit to it, we can change our definition of success. Away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins; to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like."So how do we do it? Well... its a collective effort for sure, and before I make some suggestions, let me preface by first quoting my father, "everything in moderation". But in the spirit of Nigel's talk, let's try some small changes:
- Praise people for the amount they give to others and the time they commit to beneficial causes, as opposed to new clothes, homes, cars, promotions and/or salaries
- Rather than laughing at how wasted ____ was at the club last night, instead rejoice in the accomplishments of the house we helped build or the money we loaned to a budding social entrepreneur in a third world country whose breakthrough malaria nets are saving lives in record numbers.
- Respect our peers for career advancements, but ask the challenging question "Will this now enable you to spend more time doing the things you truly love doing?"
- Instead of coming together weekly to watch a television show, join 365in365 to partner with your friends to live a healthier life, while raising money to support worthwhile causes
- Share a story of inspiration in the place of that hilarious YouTube clip
What small changes can you start incorporating into your daily life? Don't have any yet... that's OK. But please keep me posted, and remember, "When you think differently, different things happen."
Thanks for making my world a better and more fulfilling place!
Here is the full talk from Nigel Marsh.