Here at The Most Interested Man we’re all about creating a successful and balanced life. In this post we’re going to talk about why we can’t achieve the first goal (success) without the second goal (balance). This is a core principle of the 8 Pillars so let’s dig in!
A successful life may mean different things to different people. We aren’t trying to define success as a certain amount of money, number of friends, or title at work. Rather, success constitutes a healthy position and continual growth in all areas of our lives.
Regardless of how you define success for any one area (Pillar) of your life, if your overall life is out of balance you can’t have a wholly successful life.
Balance is important because a man can be successful in one area of life at the expense of another. If you have a great job and tons of money but no friends and a broken family, that isn’t success. For that reason, we want to have balanced success. This is key as our entire concept is built on growing in our area most of out of balance before moving to another.
The Importance of Balance
During the COVID-19 shutdown our gym was closed down for several months. During that time my wife and I started doing video guided at home workouts that focused on bodyweight movements and cardio. This was a big change from my typical heavy weights workout that focused on squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.
At first, I was skeptical of the impact of bouncing around and standing on one leg for 30 minutes. I want to be thick and strong, not a yogi.
However, after the first workout or two I started to realize just how out of balance I actually was.
One of the movements that really hit me hard was a yoga type move called “Warrior 3 Kickouts”. This requires you to stand on one leg and hinge forward, stretching out parallel to the ground.
The first few workouts that I tried this, I couldn’t do it. My balance was all off as my little stabilizer muscles fired every which way trying to keep all those big heavy muscles from toppling over.
The good news is that after a few weeks I started to find my balance. Amazingly, I also started to see my lower back pain dissipate as my core become stronger. What seemed like a wimpy bodyweight workout has proven to have many benefits beyond what I was getting from just doing big compound lifts.
Balancing Life Roles
Similar to finding balance in my workout and realizing many physical benefits, we must find our balance in life to see benefits in our mental, physical, and spiritual life.
To illustrate this concept let’s look at our illustration of the 8 Pillars of a man’s life. While the Pillars may look different for different men in various stages of life, we believe they encompass all the major areas of every man’s life.
Imagine that in our pillar illustration two of your pillars are much shorter than the others. Perhaps it is Health and Service, as you don’t exercise and have no real volunteer involvement in your community or church. While you won’t topple right away, you might start sagging. If nothing else, the rest of the pillars are going to start crushing under the extra weight they have to hold.
A successful and balanced life requires a strong foundation and balanced pillars to create a symmetrical and lasting structure.
Success without balance isn’t really success at all. Ironically, we often perceive those with the least balance as having the most success. This is because we rarely see the whole of a person unless we know them well.
When we see a billionaire business man, star athlete, or famous author we are usually only seeing one or two very well-developed pillars in their life. This looks like success, but we don’t see it all in proportion.
In reality, few of us would actually want to live this type of life. This is why we often see those with the most “success” struggling with substance abuse, divorce, depression, and more. Would you take the financial success of Jeff Bezos if you had to take his divorce as well? (If you answered yes, we might need to talk about some other issues!)
Great success in one area isn’t worth failure in the others.
Beyond Work-Life Balance
Most of us are familiar with the concept of work-life balance. It is the idea that we have to have a healthy relationship between our professional and personal lives. This is usually measured by working reasonable hours and taking vacation throughout the year.
While work-life balance is critical and fits well within our 8 Pillars concept, we must go beyond just work and a general “life” category to have true life success and balance.
In college I studied engineering and took several classes in Physics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, and more. One thing I remember clearly was the importance of defining the “control boundary” when studying conservation of energy and mass.
In essence, this concept says that you need to define all that’s in the system in order to account for the input and output of energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy and matter can neither be created or destroyed, but if we get the boundary wrong it might look like it is!
Take for example a race car engine that has a turbocharger and nitrous injection. If we’re trying to understand the power input and output of the car we have to be sure to include the extra oxygen provided by the turbo and the extra fuel provided by nitrous. Otherwise we’d be missing key inputs and not understand how the overall system works.
In your life, it is important to draw a boundary that includes all 8 Pillars. If you miss one or two or leave them out because they don’t seem to impact the others you won’t fully understand your life “system” and end up with some wacky results.
The Impact of an Unbalanced Life
When we are out of balance it can have devastating impacts on our overall wellbeing. You might not see it right away, but over time you’ll start to realize the wear and tear of unbalanced weight.
We cannot compartmentalize our lives to a point where one area does not impact the other. If you are lacking sleep, your work will suffer. If your work is suffering, the stress will impact your family relationships. Eventually this all circles back to your body as you neglect good exercise and diet, leading to weight gain and more energy problems. Now you have little left to give to others, so your friends and community are left on their own as you focus inward in a desperate spiral to fight through your own daily issues.
This isn’t a pretty picture, but it is the case for countless men. It often becomes most obvious in middle age as more roles and responsibilities are added to our lives. Promotions, houses, and kids are all combined with an aging body, leaving you with a beer gut and a mid-life crisis.
How to Have Success and Balance
Gaining overall success in life may require what seems like a sacrifice of success in one or two areas for a while. For example, if you are a successful executive with excellent Work success but are suffering in your Family relationships, you might need to turn down a promotion or even make a career change in order to prioritize Family for a while.
If we aren’t focusing on our overall life this may seem like a step backward, but it’s not. Our life isn’t truly successful if we aren’t balanced across all areas.
Once we bring all areas in to balance we can focus on growing the 8 Pillars together. We will continually re-evaluate and place our focus and emphasis on the area needed.
Is it Possible?
If you’re like me, you dream of “having it all”. You want to have plenty of money, time, health, relationships, and respect. You want to kill it at work, have six-pack abs, and come home to a happy and loving wife and kids. While some may scoff and say this is unattainable, deep down we all wish we could have a life like that.
The good news is, you can.
I firmly believe we can have a high level of success across all areas. This because a balanced life created a synergy that propels us forward. Having a healthy body with good sleep, great diet, and regular exercise is going to fuel you work success. Having good boundaries at work helps us become more effective as a delegator and teammate while also giving us more time for Friends, Family, and Community.
You can have this life of balanced success. It just requires an honest evaluation of where you’re currently at and a commitment to growth and learning.
This won’t be easy. You didn’t fall into an out of balance life overnight. There are deeply ingrained patterns and habits that will take months and years to reshape.
Having said that, don’t be discouraged or overwhelmed. Focus on incremental improvement in one or maybe two areas at a time. Life is going to go by anyhow. Wouldn’t you rather be better in 5-6 key ways in a year rather than staying where you’re at right now?
To get started take our free assessment to see where you’re at across the 8 Pillars and then download our free PDF guide to start improving today!