In Dr. Seuss’ book entitled, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, he writes, “…remember that life’s a great balancing act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left,” There are many lessons to be learned from this section of prose. First, life is a great balancing act. What does this mean?
Well, imagine your typical morning. If you are an average American, it might look something like this. You snooze your alarm until you are late for work and the kids are late for school. They almost miss the bus but manage to catch it, eating a granola bar instead of a proper breakfast. You kiss your wife good-bye, frazzled and on edge as you commute to a boring desk job in the city. After a long days work, you go home to find a burnt dinner and a request to order takeout.
In this scenario, where are your priorities? How are you balancing your family, career, and personal self-care? You neglect your physical health by being sleep-deprived and rushed every morning. Your family is also neglected as you don’t have the energy to spend quality time with them after work. Your wife also deserved some love and attention. This is why life truly is a “great balancing act”. While priorities are hard to organize, living a balanced life will result in greater happiness and peace for both you and your loved ones.
How do we organize our priorities? Author Stephen Covey gave this analogy. If you put little rocks into a jar first, you will not have as much space for the big rocks. Therefore, it is wise to put the big rocks into the jar first, and then the little rocks. We all have big and little rocks in our lives. The big rocks represent important commitments and goals with our families, jobs, and ourselves. The little rocks represent small priorities and deadlines, like cleaning the house and walking the dog. While the little rocks are important and need to be done, the big rocks need to be done first.
Another way we can balance our lives is to avoid distractions. Distractions plague our lives and if distractions are the epidemic, social media is the thing that will further weaken our immune system. Some believe this topic has been over-emphasized. While it has been addressed many times, that is only because the misuse of technology has gotten worse. FURTHER READING AND OTHER OPINIONS
Other distractions are not as obvious. Some examples include procrastination and perfectionism. Procrastination kills productivity, and leads to an increased desire to procrastinate in other areas of our lives. Procrastination can become an addiction, much like MSG can make us addicted to potato chips. Perfectionism may not seem like a distraction. However, its fruits cause many distractions such as spending too much time on a “little rock” instead of focusing our efforts on the “big rocks”. If everything has to be perfect we will frequently find ourselves out of time and out of energy.
The solution is pretty simple. Prioritize your life and commit to the big rocks before the little ones. Also, don’t get trapped in distractions like social media, procrastination, and perfectionism. If our lives are not balanced, we fail to focus on what matters most: our families, self-care, and serving others. Remember what Dr. Seuss said: “Never mix your right foot up with your left”. Likewise, never mix up your big rocks with your little ones.