the balanced life

Finding the Balanced Life

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When we are constantly growing and learning, we are also building our experience and knowledge.Self-confidence is an ideal balance of trusting our own abilities and judgment, partnered with humility and earnestly learning from others. Consider a finely tuned guitar as an example. One trait out of harmony can cause our personal growth to slow or even be stunted. We all know the person that thinks they already possess everything they need to know. Some of us have teenagers in this category. We also know that person full of potential, but simply has no confidence in themselves. When we are constantly growing and learning, we are also building our experience and knowledge. Which, in turn, leads to the perfect balance of self-confidence.

My personal growth has been stunted many times in life. I was that teenager that came to the conclusion that I knew it all. The predictable trouble soon followed. At least half of what I know about being a good dad stems from all the lectures my own dad gave me during this period. My saving grace? I was smart enough to listen…even if I pretended I wasn’t. To add to that, I’ve also been the person full of potential, but too shy or not confident enough to express myself. I allowed opportunity to pass by because I was scared.

What are the habits that encourage and produce balanced lives? Here are some of the most common.

Personal Discipline

If you’ve ever spent time in the military or around them, you quickly learn the importance of personal discipline. The entire chain of command depends on this. Start with the basics—sleep habits, detailed planning and scheduling, and organization. Procrastination should become a foul word. As a creative type, that’s the most difficult thing for me. Push yourself to master the things most difficult to you. The overall goal of personal discipline is to eliminate waste, the same as you would if building a family budget. If you get the proper rest, schedule and plan ahead, and organize your day-to-day properly, you’ll be shocked at what you get accomplished.

Setting Priorities

My wife is one of the most successful and balanced people I know. She pulls off being a mom, a wife, and having a major career better than anyone I know. How? She’s outstanding at personal discipline and as in the first part of this topic—setting priorities. She doesn’t waste time and effort on fantasy and the frivolous. Her priorities are family first, work/responsibility, and quality of life. Most importantly, she keeps God in the center at all times and in all things. Faith determines her ethics and priorities.

The Right Attitude

Attitude is so important to balance and success. Ideally, our attitudes should lean heavy towards the positive, with a good dose of sober reality, humility, and confidence. We don’t want to be so overly positive that we lose the ability to understand things as they really are. Sober reality is seeing your abilities with vivid clarity—knowing what you aren’t so great at. For instance, not everyone can sing well. No amount of positive thinking is going to change that. If we evaluate ourselves with clarity, it brings forth our strengths even greater because we’ve eliminated where not to place effort. Our optimism is then raised. See both sunshine and storms as opportunities.

Get Out of the Comfort Zone

Getting into life ruts brings on the feeling of mundane boredom and stagnation. To avoid feeling rigid and trapped, we have to get out of the places we feel comfortable and try new experiences. This can be accomplished in the many ways our creative minds lead us. Read new things. Start a conversation with someone different from you. Volunteer with the poor. Try speaking in public. This is where “quality of life” is nurtured. Recently, I was snowmobiling in Utah. It was deep fresh powder, and the guides brought us to a steep hill. I was honestly terrified. Out of my comfort zone? Way out of it. But I nosed my machine over the hill and trusted God and gravity. Flying down that hill barely in control was one of the best experiences of my life. I lived to tell the story to my grandchildren one day.

Huddle up with your wife tonight and ask, “What do you think our top priorities should be?”