About a year ago I decided to say “I quit” to a balanced life. It wasn’t getting me where I wanted, and I realized, balance probably isn’t getting you anywhere either.
Because balance never got anyone anywhere.
We have a culture that claims that balance is the way to a long life, to success, and to a harmonious home life.
But is balance really the right word? And does it carry the right connotation?
That USDA pyramid to the right is supposedly a “balanced diet.” Yet anyone who has read the research knows that you’ll be deader than my great grandma in no time eating a diet like that.
I once asked a nutritionist how much soda is it okay for people to drink, thinking she’d obviously say “get it out of your life and you’ll be better off”. Instead, she said “everything in moderation.” But the truth is that some things are better than others. And some things are worth getting rid of entirely, like the idea of balance.
Now, I realized the nutritionist was probably giving me an ass-covering answer, and that’s fine, but this idea of balance is so perversive in modern society that it needs to be addressed.
And I firmly believe that the ridiculous concept of balance is holding you back from getting what you deserve in life.
Balance is overrated
The reason I say that balance is overrated and that you should oust it from your life is that I was a victim of the balance craze my entire life.
I read a lot of Buddhist and Taoist works since I was a child, meditated for 10 years, and fell prey to the “balance is da bomb” assumption.
I thought that I shouldn’t work more than a 9-5, so I had my free time. I thought that I shouldn’t do cross fit because it was too stressful on the body. I thought that I should eat a balanced diet based on the USDA food pyramid.
And what happened? In my work I got nowhere, I was only working for other people.
In the gym, I lifted weights for 5 years and still looked the same year after year – like most others in the gym.
I started having digestive problems and then when I saw the nutritionist she said “I don’t know, you’re eating a perfectly balanced diet, this is really puzzling.”
And so I told balance politely, but firmly, to piss off and never return.
Balance and your success
The hairy thing about balance is that we assume it’s supposed to be a principle that underlies everything we do in life.
Don’t ever work overtime. Don’t workout too hard at the gym. Eat a little bit of everything to be healthy. We assume it’s a prerequisite for success. It’s not.
But has anyone ever told you the “How come?” part of the equation?
If you work overtime what happens? … You have less free time. Does that mean you’re not balanced? Not if you are enjoying your work.
Right now I work 8:30-6:30 most days and then come home, eat dinner, and work on other start-up projects until I sleep around midnight. Then wake up at 7 to do it again, 7 days a week.
But am I unbalanced? Nope, because by and large I’m enjoying the work I’m doing, despite the fact I’m working 14 hours a day.
Balance is entirely in your head.
In the gym if you push yourself hard what happens? Done correctly, muscular growth. Done incorrectly, injury. But doing a “balanced workout” never produced someone with an incredible physique.
And the balanced diet. People love using the balanced diet as a cop-out for really answering the question of what to eat and what not to eat, because there actually are things you will live longer by living without.
Alas, beyond the aforementioned examples of balance, there is one huge reason why you should avoid it. Balance never produced anything or anyone special, unique, or exceptional.
True vehicles of high achievement
Balance never produced Mozart, Tiger Woods, or Donald Trump.
Balance is boring, unexceptional, and mundane. And expected. The 99% live balanced, predictable, ordinary lives.
One thing is for sure: there is going to be an ever-increasing number of people on earth, and the only guarantee for you and I is that it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder to stand out.
Quit balance. Find the extremes, and stand out.
In addition to balance never producing greatness, there are a couple other ways it hinders your achievement:
- Balance prevents you from doing what it takes (*no matter what*) to get what you want
- Balance is a psychological barrier that tells you to quit even when you are ahead, in the interests of being “balanced”
- Balance is a subjective concept, whose standards change from person to person
- Balance is not conducive to change, learning, or growth, because you’re, well, already balanced
There is, however, one underlying reason why I want you to never live a balanced life again. If you choose to skim this whole post, don’t miss the last section.
Imbalance is the natural, required, and desired impetus for growth, change, and greatness.
Bros before hoes & the growth kicker
If I could sum all of this stuff up in one sentence, it would be this: balance is not conducive to change or growth.
If you begin feeling comfortable in life you should be terrified.
You have to fall down and scrape your knees while learning to bike before you attain balance and can ride smoothly.
And you have to stumble around like a drunkard with vertigo while learning to walk as a child.
But what happens once you do attain balance as a child who learns to walk? You stop improving.
So what do you do next? You either stay the same or you begin learning once again by running.
Balance is the single most insidious idea that has found its way into our new-age information prone brains. Only through imbalance can you improve. Imbalance is the stimulus for growth.
The avoidance of being balanced, comfortable, and settled are the key attributes of getting truly exceptional at anything.
And only through being imbalanced can you learn to do big things with your time on earth.
Greatness was never achieved through balance — so stamp that shit on your wall as a reminder.