Why we struggle to achieve work/life balance
Our European counterparts tend to do a better job of it, but we hear more and more about "work/life balance".
Epidemic mental health issues and drug abuse in North America have caused this issue to be pushed to the forefront as we search for ways to take pressure off people.
But one of the biggest barriers, or the "catch", is that this balance is completely different for everyone and that we need a great deal of self awareness and honesty to discover our own Goldilocks zone in terms of work/life balance.
A lot of people fall somewhere in the middle, but some will thrive grinding from 5am until they pass out, and for others, every hour of work seems like torture. But for various reasons, many of us have a hard time admitting where we fall on the scale. And that's when the trouble starts!
If you deny your nature, there will be consequences
A function of our digital groupthink mentality has led us to believe that there's some sort of magic number that works for everyone, or we come under the influence of a person or product telling us one or the other is the only path.
You have to ask yourself hard questions, and greed often clouds our judgement. We want to be a CEO but would never work an 80 hour week. We want to have friends but would never turn down a 30% raise and promotion to move to a new city.
We have a short trip through this life. You have to make tough decisions about what your values are, who you really are, and what matters to you. Only then can you begin to formulate your perfect work/life balance.
The problem is this- the majority of people are highly confused about what their work/life balance should be, generally in one of two groups:
- People who have become so lazy they believe sitting on their ass and drawing "passive income" is the route to happiness. They have lost their drive and don't have the confidence in their ability to handle the workload. They devote their lives to avoiding pain and then have no ability to deal with it when it inevitably happens.
- The smaller group is those who actually care much more about "life", but the pressure of parents or self esteem have convinced them that how much they work is the measure of their life. They think they're a CEO type when they'd be much happier working 30 hours a week at a pottery store and "wasting" time with friends.
Get in where you fit in
There is almost no relationship between measured happiness and income. The secret is that whether someone is making 50k a year or 500k a year, the happy ones are in the right place! Some us are satisfied with simply earning a living and enjoying the many simple pleasures life has to offer like friends, entertainment, food etc. Some are not satisfied unless they're ready to faint at the end of the day- for them, the grind is their happiness!
Just remember to be realistic with your expectations- most us can't do it all in life. The highest levels of achievement often come at great personal cost with family and friends, and if you're not willing to sacrifice almost everything for work, you're probably never going to have a yacht. Make a decision and embrace the consequences.
Look past what parents or society has told you about what you need to do to be happy. Look past the negative thoughts going through your head that tell you you're not capable of more. If you can find a way to cut out all that noise, you'll get in touch with your real desires and values and find your perfect work/life balance!
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