I watched this awesome talk by the late Steve Jobs which highlighted a great motivator: The recognition of our mortality. This got me thinking about why we decided to call our blog “Life-Life Balance”. Obviously it is a tongue-in-cheek play on the phrase “work-life balance”. But so what? When you think about it, the expression “work-life balance” is profoundly sad. It implies that work and life are two different things on either end of a scale, that work is not life. And what’s more, it implies that this dichotomy is unavoidable.
Now, from a purely biological perspective, this is ridiculous, of course you are alive whilst you work. But the reason why the phrase resonates with people is because there is a vital psychological element to life. To many, time spent wishing you weren’t doing what you are doing is a kind of non-life, a dream from which they wish they could wake.
It is an unspoken belief within our society that you should compromise and give in to the compartmentalisation of work and life. You say you don’t enjoy your job and people give you a rueful smile and say “Only 40 more years”. Or maybe you think your job is OK, and then people say “At least you don’t hate your job”. It is this resignation which Life-Life Balance challenges. If you believe that you only have one life (which I do), then the idea of resigning yourself long-term to spending the majority of your waking hours doing something which you wish you did not have to do is repugnant.
The aim of a true Life-Life Balance is to forge a life which would remain unchanged if you suddenly had unlimited money. If you like your job, that’s good. But if you wouldn’t keep doing it if you suddenly inherited a billion dollars, then you are still compromising. To be clear, we all have to (and do) compromise for certain periods of time. And perhaps we will never arrive at the ideal of Life-Life Balance. That is not my point. My point is that you should never resign yourself to a compromise which wastes the gift of life. If you have to do this, it should always be a stage in a plan. That plan should be one which aims to take you to a place where you *really *want to be, to do a thing which you *really *want to do, which you would still do even if you had more money than Bill Gates.
I believe that even if you never attain true Life-Life Balance, that constantly striving for it will bring you closer to that ideal than any other way of living.