What Does Being Balanced Mean?

“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” –Oprah Winfrey

Staying balanced is something we all strive for but have we really defined what being balanced is? Is it being on top of everything all the time? Is it having boxes checked off in all the major areas of life: work, school, religion, community, relationships, financial, etc. What is being balanced?

I am going to venture to say that it is a personal state of equilibrium. Being the economics student that I am, equilibrium is defined as the point at which all needs are perfectly met. If everything stayed the same, you would be perfectly content. This is not really realistic though, is it?

It is hard to say that humans have an equilibrium point, because we are driven by the idea that more is better. More money, more time, more trips, more promotions, more everything. So again this leads to the question: how do we lead a balanced life?

I believe that an equilibrium point can be achieved given the proper perspective. Ask yourself: what makes me happy? (for me it’s: being active in my community, having a leadership position, having time for friends and family, being successful academically, having time to exercise, and while also working to further my success professionally) Once you have identified what these components are, as yourself: am I able to achieve each of these components regularly enough to say I am consistently happy?

Priorities in life are what define your happiness. If everything that you value is at the top of your priority list, then you are likely to be in a better mental state, than if you are doing everything you hate all the time just because you feel like you have to.

I have learned that it is okay to trim the fat on your life. If you are doing something draining, then it is okay to say this is not for me and move on. Not saying that you can just drop anything you don’t love, because we all have to work, deal with difficult situations, and get through the tough times, but if something is tearing you down, you can say enough is enough.

If you are someone like me, you probably think that the more you do, the more “balanced” and “well-rounded” you are. This is true to a point. When you have so much on your plate that you are only able to give half the effort to everything that you normally would, you have probably spread yourself too thin.

What can you do? Well you can create a schedule to start. Set realistic time expectations for all of the things that you do every day. Make things like sleeping, eating, and socializing a priority, because all work and no play makes for a pretty dull existence. Make sure you have time to do things that bring you joy. Only make commitments that you know you can fulfill, because I believe that if you can do these things, you can achieve this elusive thing we call “balanced.” So take a look at your life, and figure out what you need to spend your time and energy on and go from there. 

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin