Here is something I wrote last year while flying and never got around to sharing it…
What is it about a plane and being 30,000 feet up above the world that makes you think and reflect on life? Combine this with some inspirational music and you have a very inspirational environment to think and reflect and gain a better perspective on the Why’s and How’s of life.
One topic that has been on my mind for some time is the life/family and work/ambition balance, and how to deal with this equation. I must admit, I am a very ambitious person and there is nothing wrong with that per-se, but when you start to build a family and become responsible for raising children, ambition starts to acquire a new meaning. As I read biographies of some of the greatest achievers in history there is always this recurring theme of life balance. Many of these achievers chose to push to the side of achievement and accomplishment, often at the expense of family and children. Common themes like dedication and passion, devotion, risk, craziness, unconventional thinking and daring to do things differently arise over and over again. Many of these “great minds” that forged some of the most important and world defining moments and paths in this world often had to sacrifice many other things that life can bring such as family and children. In the end it comes down to “Time” and how we chose use the time that is given to us (hey, was that not something out of the Lord of the Rings?).
Time is our most precious asset and what we do with it really determines how our lives play out. Some choose to spend that time building a family and raising children, with work and career as a tool to earn a living and pay for the necessities of life and in raising a family. Some chose to bypass the family environment and chose work and careers and place ambitions first, pushing the boundaries of achievement and going for productivity, sometimes at a cost of quality of life and the love you get from raising a family. Some get a lot of fulfillment from this and others do not. There is no right or wrong, there is simply choice – the choice of how we leverage the time we have. The right’s and wrong’s of society are highly subjective and this is a whole other story.
Without turning this post in a book, what I am trying to get at is how do you find a balance in life when it comes to raising a family and work achievement (i.e. productivity outside the family circle). I am currently trying to find a solution that will bring as much balance as possible into this equation. The choices I make often have a tremendous influence on both sides of this equation. I want both side to succeed (as I see it) which means I need to do what is best for my family, but at the same time do what is best for my career and ambitions and productivity and all the people I influence and that rely on me. The tricky part is that both sides of the equation often work against each other, so there is always a concession to be made on one side or the other.
What does this mean? Well it means that no matter what you do, you cannot be optimum on both sides of the equation. If you wanted to be optimum on the one side, that would pull away from the other. Life always finds a balance if life is to continue.
So what to do? Well, as I mentioned above, it comes down to “time” and how you choose to use that time.
Time is relative and not absolute (as many would sometimes see it). Yes, our “living” time on this earth is fixed, actually down to the second and millisecond, but how we choose to use our time is not. Time can be amplified by our actions. By being able to detach ones-self from trying to control everything that we produce to working with others and trusting others to exponentially amply our time. How we chose to use our time can also drastically influence the outcome and impact this time can have in the world.
I will leave you with this thought: Life is short, but what it can achieve is limitless.