Why a Balanced Life Can Be Deceptive

Balance is tricky. It’s appealing. Who wouldn’t want to have a balanced life? The promise of a perfect life where you get a taste of everything has a certain charm to it.

It appeals to our human nature. We like symmetry, harmony, equilibrium. They are signs of completion, order or equanimity. We appreciate these in the everyday world: impeccable architecture, the smart design of a household item or the inherent beauty of a flower.

The lines and curves in a Renaissance sculpture are proportional so that they render a visually pleasing effect which alludes to a perfect body. An experienced chef knows how to balance the flavors in his meal to produce a delightful end product. In game theory, there is a concept called Nash equilibrium which refers to the benefit of sticking to one’s own strategy, because there would be no payoff in changing it, as long as the other players don’t change theirs as well.

Although balance is attractive, chasing it can leave us trapped in a shallow territory. Not only is it unrealistic, but when taken too far, balance in one’s life translates to lack of depth. A breeding ground for mediocrity.

Balance works under the assumption that everything is important. But for any meaningful pursuit, you have to focus your attention to that specific thing. You need to choose the areas of your life that require intense dedication and can’t be approached as all the others. It’s worth noting that the most basic physiological needs shouldn’t be overlooked. You probably shouldn’t mess with your sleep or disregard your diet.

However, there’s room for experimentation and maneuvering of the other aspects of our lives.
A tennis player doesn’t practice serving with both hands just to remain ‘balanced’. Professional bodybuilders have periods when they put more emphasis on certain muscles, at the expense of others.

If your input is balanced, you won’t get an extraordinary result.
Be willing to neglect common advice. That talks about averages, common practices, best courses of action and safe routes. For a truly remarkable,

Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, this way, you will know which advice to disregard.
There’s no formula for success, but being balanced in everything is a formula for failure.
Every daring pursuit benefits from a bit of madness.
Athletes, musician, painters, writers… you won’t find any of them that lived in conformity.
We should experiment with our limits, to see where they are in the first place. Find out what we’re capable of.

In pursuit of excellence, the scale has to tip to one side. it can’t all be even.

When everything is even, nothing stands out.

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