Life-coach gurus talk about “Life Balance” … a very helpful reflective concept for different people at different points in their personal lives … especially for when they feel “out of sorts”, “at loose ends” or “disconnected”.
But many of us – and most of those at the top – function OFF-BALANCE most of the time … else we don’t function at all! You can’t HAVE it all or DO it all, at least not all at once, and, most of the time, you simply have to KEEP DOING.
That’s not necessarily all bad news. A “Perfectly Balanced Life” has no momentum! In fact, if you’re not “Leaning (i.e., off balance) in the direction of your Dreams”, you may not be “making it”! [Check out “The Perfectly Unbalanced Life” at ERTIA UNLIMITED.]
Brick walls, barriers, failings and setbacks are going to happen. And they will generally happen more frequently the higher up you go and the closer you get to a prized goal. But Randy Pausch has this advice:
“The brick walls are not there to keep us out;
the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show
how badly we want something.”
“The Last Lecture”
So we need ANCHORINGS … moorings as firm as possible – as enduring as possible … to hang onto when we find ourselves “twisting in the wind”.
Captain Ahab, adrift in the seven seas looking for an elusive white whale, perhaps reflected the angst of such condition best in “Moby Dick”:
“This is a cogent vice thou hast here, carpenter; let me feel its grip once … I like a good grip; I like to feel something in this slippery world that can hold, man.”
Captain Ahab, Moby Dick, Chapter 108. Herman Melville
One of my favorite analogies is the example of a kite.
A kite, though light, must, first, be sturdy enough to hold its own against the wind. Second, it must be anchored to the ground if it’s going to soar at all; the tighter the anchor and stiffer the wind, the higher it will rise! Obviously, “baggage” of any kind is an impediment. However, in a wind of sufficient force, it can carry a significant payload.
Simple math: The more secure “anchorings” we have, the better. But many mass-consumptive and “virtual” anchorings – like sit-coms, video games, super heroes, fast food, drugs, Netflix, YouTube, perfectionism, fabrications, entitlements, conspiracy theories, demagogues, cynicism, ideology, etc., are marked impediments.
And anchorings must be adjusted/expanded/diversified over time, else we find ourselves stuck in a rut and unable to advance. So put SOMETHING down to get started, but don’t get too comfortable! Keep putting down “anchoring” stakes in firm and fertile groundings, and keep advancing.
Anchorings that tend to be most helpful include: A DREAM, a VISION, a GOAL, an IDEAL, a PASSION, Total Intentional Living, PURPOSEFULNESS, Health and Wellbeing, a Foundational FAITH, Mentors, Teachers, Academic Disciplines, a commitment to Lifelong Learning, a Profession/Craft/Skill. Professional Associations, Community Leaders, Libraries …
NOTE: Political parties and “Tribal Enclaves” are not necessarily so helpful!
- “Nothing is going to stop me!”
- “I can DO this!”
- “We shall overcome!”
- “The customer is always right!”
- “Be prepared.” (Boy Scout Motto)
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We also have to be on guard, Seneca reminds us, against [unfounded] hope. Edith Eger told us on the Daily Stoic podcast [https://dailystoic.com/dr-edith-eger/] about a friend in the concentration camp where she’d been imprisoned who became convinced that she would soon be freed…and when that day came and went, she died of a broken heart. Hope was the scaffolding that held her up, it was the oxygen that filled her lungs and kept her going. When it collapsed…so did she. Daily Stoic, March 3, 2022
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Perhaps dogged determination toward EVENTUAL SURMOUNTABIITY is a more serviceable anchoring orientation to hold. Being “doggedly determined” in noble pursuits rarely fails! Quartermaster