24
Oct
07

Tipping the Balance

The last three days have been a perfect storm of client projects, thus no blog posts since last week. This imbalance in my life triggered the notion that we place a lot of emphasis on having balance in our lives. Balanced diets, balanced checkbooks, balanced opinions. We even use scales and a blind woman to represent justice.

I’d pose that balance doesn’t truly exist and that our pursuit of so-called balance only leaves us wildly out of whack. For instance, my fear of not having written a blog post since last week (mustn’t blow the schedule even more) had me writing a draft of this post (see below) while my hairdresser cut my hair.

Notebook

I strongly suspect that I’m not the only one who questions what living a balanced life requires and the cost it exacts. Failing to recognize this fact falls in the same category (IMO) as saying that women can have it all with no caveat added to address the good and the bad (that’s another discussion).

Balance is also equated to neutrality (see: scales of justice), which I find equally ridiculous, if admirable in aim. For instance, Fox News makes a point of saying “fair and balanced.” Please, hold the laughs for a moment. The bigger question isn’t whether they’re honest or not when they say this but rather why network executives assume viewers want “fair and balanced” in their news?

Am I too cynical when I say that I believe no one individual or entity is capable of true balance or neutrality all of the time? Last I checked, humans, including reporters, aren’t exempt from all the quirks of humanity, including personal opinions. Would we like/respect the press more if we knew what personal biases might be in play?

Coming back to balance in our lives…some weeks, I will physically (and mentally) not be able to keep my posting schedule of five per week, but that won’t stop me from trying to meet my goal. Maybe this idea is the true definition of balance.

As Marc Andreessen points out, “There’s always more demands than there’s time to meet them, so it’s constantly a matter of trying to balance them.” (link) The other thing I’d add—try spending more time weighing the value of the demand versus the time it requires. Few scales will ever truly balance. Perhaps they aren’t supposed to.

Comments?

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2 Responses to “Tipping the Balance”


  1. October 24, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Hey Britt, first off, great post on a timely topic! Also, I love that you use paper. Somehow the idea of the ‘paperless office’ seems a little silly and completely impractical to me. Finally, how very acrobatic of you to write while getting a haircut – while much safer than writing while driving, I certainly can’t see myself scribbling down notes in the barber chair.

    For me, balance is important, but it is static and so it exists mainly in a snapshot – a historical look back. Real living involves much flux – it is accomplished in a fluid state. I always think of a teeter totter – if it were always balanced where would the fun be? Or the tides providing life support for all sorts of marine life, the pendulum on the clock that hangs on my wall, the surface of the water as a stone is tossed into the pond, on and on.

    This next bit is mostly unrelated but it illustrates a side reason why I love reading your blog. You triggered a humorous memory I thought I’d share. Ten years ago I was working in a lab focused on animal feed research. We were in the middle of a huge experiment, utilizing about fifteen technicians in production line fashion to do a complex set of hands-on, physical manipulations on samples of silage. One of our analytical balances suffered a fatal failure (I think the circuit board got wet and fried or something). We could no longer weigh samples and this brought the whole process to a standstill. For about ten minutes I ran from lab to lab looking for a balance that I could borrow. Finally, seeing that I was a little harried, one of my co-workers helped me with a little reality check, saying “What the h*** are you doing that is so important?”. That really did the trick. Realizing (finally) the futility of becoming so excited/irritated, I replied, in my most relaxed and “zen” voice “I’m just seeking balance, man”. We no longer work together, but we still laugh about that moment today.

  2. 2 Britt
    November 1, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Shannon,

    I’m a big fan of paper. I, too, wonder about why offices keep trying to go paperless. There’s something nice an tangible about a piece of paper that can’t be duplicated on screen.


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