No doubt, we currently live in troubled times; but for the history of mankind this hardly news and the only constant always ever has been “change and challenge”, leaving its mark on all of those who came before us.
To countersteer the many effects which such times bring (anxiety, stress, fear, hate) many ancient societies have developed principles of keeping life in balance as key success factors both for personal/social survival, growth and endurance. May it be the Bible, the Quran or other religious manifestos: reaching a state of absolute equilibrium with all things around oneself many times is an ever-sought-after goal and a recipe to find eternal inner and external peace when the world around one seems to fall apart by its seems.
A reoccurring theory here deals with the relationship/connection of the three major areas which govern one’s personal life: Health, Wealth and Love. This theory here is not uniquely owned by one group or person, but rather often the final conclusion by many parties on analysis of human behavior .
No matter how we look at human longing, or study its material expression for attainment, we come back again and again for this truth; every hope,every emotion, every desire of the human mind, heart or body has its roots in one or the other,or all of these things; take anyone away and life ceases to be perfect. (Julia Seton, MD – written in 1917)
I had originally discovered this principle in a life-improvement book some 10 years ago and was instantly intrigued: life’s struggles and the simple theory of improving them via understanding the connection/influence/balance of main areas (Health, Wealth and Love) sounded like the “easy-one-fix-all” solution.
Many times afterwards I still fail with the implementation in complex every day life – but there have been numerous instances where this has led me down a better path and definetly a better understanding on what life is really about…
Let’s start at the beginning though! Let me explain the meaning of the different areas (and for those, who already know about the principle: feel free to skip to below)
The word’s meaning here is pretty straightforward: what is the state of you current health? And this goes beyond the obvious bodily health and fitness level, but also relates to your mental health and ability to withstand prolonged periods of stress, fatigue, pain and fear.
Certainly a well trained physique can help with that (as higher oxygen levels aid your brain to function better). But what I hear most being the very foundation of health is the simple amount of sleeping hours you get in a day. Great leaders seem to use it as an ever-repeating mantra “No matter what: get that 8 hours of sleep!”.
Needless to say that food and drinks and according minerals and vitamins play a huge role (but in this day and age is hardly a secret anymore) and a time of “disconnect“ (vacation) plays a big role here too.
Beyond the common understanding this being simplz tied to monetary values, there is also different definition of “wealth”, far superior to the (always dwindling) amount of cash you have in your bank or pockets.
This “wealth” often manifests itself by the known themes of millionaires going broke overnight in a stock-crash, and then some years later re-appearing even stronger – and the foundations of such comebacks is the “wealth of relationships” that they had previously built up.
In my professional career life I have discovered, more often then not, that people’s urge to “throw money at a problem to make it go away” (when dealing with external companies) is only a short-lived effect if there is no deeper relationship to the other party (or a relationship to an affiliated party who can assert influence).
So “Wealth” here could be as much as the amount of goldbars you store in your wine cellar (and I know you secretly sneak down in the middle of the night to polish them ;), but more importantly knowing the Maitre D’ of the finest restaurant in town, for getting that amazing dinner table by the lake window, last minute on Saturday night (yes, dear reader, you can trade in those gold bars for something more “digestible”).
“Wealth” then also relates to the deepness of your relationships to your family (big! The pandemic taught a lot of lessons there), friends, acquaintances and anyone out there who can lend you a helping hand in time of need – or someone to crack a good joke with!
Ahhhh! “Amoooore, Amore…” as Italians say (and they really have the best words for everything, don’t they? 😉 Being loved is an absolute essential need for any human being. But also to give love in return, as this is by definition of many religions the cornerstone of happiness.
Love comes in different shades though: it can be the unconditional love of a child to its parent, the warm appreciation of a friendship and (most importantly) the expression of a romantic relationship. And as many know: its the easiest piece to be lost but also the hardest to be found.
For anything else just refer to the “Beatles”: “All you need is love…” (and close your eyes here and think of Ewan McGregor referring to it in Moulin Rouge)
If you tilt the balance though…
Taking all three areas into account, the state of absolute eliquibrium is what society (and the advertising industry, of course!) is constantly chasing. Of course, the picture perfect partner, the picture perfect island/private jet, the picture perfect body and the picture perfect happiness are the stuff that dreams are made of – but reality is most often different, a tangled mess of stress, work, family, love, finances and beach vacations that are more of a marathon than a bliss.
But nothing of that is unnatural, is merely life throwing you around from one corner to the next as the different shifts in balance between the three areas – and at times can fling you around like a ragdoll in the hands of one of my kids (yo’ bro’, that is a tooooough ride 😉
And you can sometimes (must?) deliberately shift the balance in one direction, to countersteer or fix that area – but do know one thing (and that is essential, I think): if you favor one area, the two others will suffer – and for that there is always a price to pay! Let me then break this down below:
OK, you marathon-cats out there: We love your stories about “That slight itch in my left leg on kilometer 49, must have come from the 220kms on the bike before“, but you need to also know: the time you are spending training, will be time spent away from loved ones – and that is ok if its 5am in the morning and all are asleep, but not so cool if you vanish for a 5-months “hike-across-the-Anden-mountain-range” adventure.
Needless to say a lot of fancy sports cost a lot of fancy dollars – and if you happen to break both of your arms via your cartwheel attempt on your neighbors slackline (who would do such a thing anyways…?), your finances might suffer a bit (and that is not only for being away from the work place – and that one guy, who brings the donuts into the office, taking your well-deserved promotion slot 😉
But also here: if work burns you out, and love is “complicated”: a wonderful morning walk to see the sun raise can do wonders, no…? And if you are not in top shape at work, you will not be able to deliver. (coffeine can only wing it for that long…)
The classic one, no doubts: let your inner “Gordon Gekko” rule the day, and you will eventually walk-alone (if your neglected body still takes you there…). There are then those not-so-funny stories of financial app amateur traders, where their midnight-trading-binging pretty much destroyed their lives in weeks… But even just regular “all nighters” will take you quickly apart from both yourself and anything else.
The “but” here too: Sometimes you must work hard and a lot. Actually more often A LOT then just sometimes, to reap the financial rewards (being brought up in that way I am a firm believer in the principle). Finding a balance here is a must, even in emergency situations: plan time with loves ones as much as well needed physical excercise. When in doubt, just stop by our local book store (if it has not been killed of by the Internet) and just count the “healthy” books in comparison to everything else.
“Dear Romeo, next time pls read the label on the bottle…“, no? Well, actually its strange but favoring love “too much” can be bad for you. You can burn yourself up by being there for everyone at every given time (yes, that also means walking the dog of your neighbor at 3am who says “But the dog is afraid of the dark! you MUST help, I am afraid too!! There are rabies-mad squirrels out there, just lurking in the trees after midnight!”) and swishing through Tinder profiles is not going to make you Elon-Musk-style ritch, but will also be time consuming.
Showing up late for work might crack a good joke if you have your shirt only half-tucked in, but not for the important all-hands meeting in the morning.
But never forget that moment you took time out of your crazy diary, helped a colleaque in need, made sure that they could absolutely shine or did a little someting to make their day bit brighter. It’s those things that people will remember you for, after all.
Bringing it all together…for work
It this is where it simply comes together: watch those super-successful leaders out there, and think of what their “secret sauce” might be…. And maybe that is just being masters of being able to balance all three areas above – and then raising the game up in all three areas at the same time, to a next level. Personally I think Richard Branson serves as an outstanding example here: he is known for his business smarts, personal warmth (have met him once…what a guy!!) and still doing crazy sports stuff at a age where most already have thrown in the towel..
And thus I like to leave it there. Time for me to go back and work on the balance of the three, and it starts off with a big hug to you all 😉