Seeing as the primary theme of this blog is balance, and that the author is a big fan of TED Talks, it only makes sense that there be a post about a TED Talk that deals with balance. In the talk below, Nigel Marsh focuses on Work-Life balance in particular. He makes four rather obvious points, nonetheless, compelling for many in our society. I’ll let you watch it first, and then offer a brief response.
Firstly, the “balanced” day he first proposes for himself does sound pretty good, doesn’t it?
Secondly, I must say that he is spot on with the distilling the fundamentals that must be addressed into four points. Our society should be a social structure, not a corporate structure, and the push and debate for balance must be taken away from corporations who are trying to brand balance. There is a subliminal message that runs through our culture now, that if you buy the right coffee, on you way to the right yoga class, while wearing the ethically made work-out clothes, and checking your friends’ status updates on your expensive phone, then you are on your way to leading a “balanced” life. This not to say that buying the right coffee, keeping in touch with your friends, or caring about where your clothes come from are bad things. Although, perhaps one should be more careful about who defines what is a “balanced” life actually is. In this way, his final point – approaching balance in a balanced way – links thoughtfully back to his first point. (Probably not the first time he has engaged in public speaking).
My personal reflection after watching him speak, was that I feel incredibly fortunate to have those that are close to me – family, friends, and co-workers – value balance in its non-corporate defined form. While I still feel I have a lot I am working on to improve my balance, I do not feel I am the direct audience he is appealing to. I have a “job” where I laugh every day, feel valued by the people I work directly with, and for the most part I feel a caring connection. I do not think this is the status-quo in society – but you will correct me in the comments section if I am wrong). At the same time however, I need to continually question myself to ascertain if I am being subconsciously pushed to unhealthy expectations by my work. It can happen anywhere, even so, perhaps especially, in a caring environment. In the end though, I do not feel he addresses how work and life can co-exist in unique caring environments. However, he only has ten minutes, and perhaps he would have gone on to address this more specifically if afforded more time.
The one glaring aspect that is not a part of balance in my life, that is integral to his talk, is having children. No doubt, some of your reading this will be able to chime in on your thoughts regrading that connection to balance, yet I believe the story of him and his son having the “best day” of his son’s life to spot-on, and there are family, friends, and little buddies in my life that I can always take more time for. This anecdote served as a good reminder, that while I have vacation time coming up, it is about the people I spend it with, not where I spend it, that will be most important.
I’m going to wrap-up this mediocre piece of writing with a less than mediocre conclusion, as I possess many other thoughts milling about in my head. However, balance for me includes going to do other things besides blogging. More than anything, just thought I would step in and share his talk, and a few thoughts.
Have a great week – hopefully a well-balanced one.