Balance. Where on Earth do you find it?
Balance. It's a word that gets thrown around as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, but just how realistic is it?
Sleep. Work. Health. Fitness. Social time. Family. Relationships. Personal development. Professional development. Depending on what kind of human being you are, it might be hard to fit everything in without feeling overwhelmed.
I'm that kind of human.
I recently attended a seminar by Dave Nixon (P.S: get into his podcast, it's full of brilliant nuggets of wisdom). Prior to the seminar we had to do a personality test called the Enneagram. If we're being frank, I don't put a lot of stock in standardised testing that tells you what kind of human you are (unless of course it's a buzzfeed quiz that tells me what famous Chris I'm going to marry based off how I enjoy potatoes the most). However, this one has completely changed my mind. This was honestly a really useful tool and lesson in self awareness.
The enneagram breaks personalities down into nine types, ranking you across all of them. You take your top three to work closely with. These nine types then unfold vertically to divulge healthy, average and unhealthy traits.
My top three were almost like looking into a mirror:
Type Three - The Achiever: The Functions of Self-Esteem and Self-Development—The potential for ambition, self-improvement, personal excellence, professional competence, self-assurance, and social self-distinction. Negatively, the potential for pragmatic calculation, arrogant narcissism, the exploitation of others, and hostility.
Type Six - The Loyalist: The Functions of Trust and Perseverance— The potential for emotional bonding with others, group identification, sociability, industriousness, loyalty to others, and commitment to larger efforts. Negatively, the potential for dependency, ambivalence, rebelliousness, anxiety, and inferiority feelings.
Type Eight - The Challenger: The Functions of Self-Assertion and Leadership— The potential for self-confidence, self-determination, self-reliance, magnanimity, and the ability to take personal initiative. Negatively, the potential for domination of others, crude insensitivity, combativeness, and ruthlessness.
Even though I'm sure I identify with traits the other types represent, these three seem to nail me perfectly. Now I can to start to unpack the techniques I need to rein in some of those unhealthy traits, and massage them back to positive ones.
Finding balance relies upon you knowing what you need to survive, and thrive. If you don't understand yourself then you've got no chance of figuring out what the healthiest version of your own life and habits looks like.
It's no secret that I do a lot of things. Work, study, health and fitness... it's all building to an endgame. A larger life goal. However, sometimes I find myself getting carried away with work or study, and completely forgetting about the other aspects of my life that are good for my mental state. Good for balancing out my drive to succeed. Good for keeping those anxious thoughts at bay.
I've set some goals for the remainder of the year, and am taking it day by day. Each week I ensure that I have made actions every day, no matter how small, to push myself closer towards each of those goals. That's balance. Sometimes small efforts, sometimes large efforts, not overwhelming yourself with too much at once, but still progressing. All of my goals align with some aspect of my personality, and what I value in life. By understanding myself, my ambition, my anxiety, my combativeness and my self-assurance, I'm able to clearly comprehend what I need to keep progressing.
Because if you're not moving forward, you're standing still.