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On the Golden Balance in Life

Focus means head down. Big picture means head up. The more you’re doing of one, the less you’re doing of the other. If you’ve been head-down on a task for too long, lift your head up to make sure you’re going the right way. Don’t do well what you shouldn’t do at all.

This is just one of the many golden nuggets in Derek Sivers’ book How to Live. The point is that if you are too focused on your current tasks, you might miss out on something on a bigger scale, and vise versa.

But I think there is a an even bigger idea hidden here.

Most things in our lives live on the spectrum. Most of the time, the best place to be on that spectrum is in the middle and tipping your toes on either side of that middle from time to time.

Many cultures have stories that support these ideas:

  • The Story of Yin and Yang in the Chinese Culture
  • The Story of the Two Wolves in the Cherokee Culture
  • The Story of Icarus and Daedalus in the Greek Mythology

Here are some examples form our own life.

1

Let’s start with the most toxic topic on the internet. Parenting. Instead of fixating on being permissive or an authoritarian parent, why don’t you be both. Different situations require different reactions. There is no use of applying one strategy to all situations.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

2

Instead of being a atheist or a religious fanatic, why don’t try the other side some time? If you hate religion, try going to a Sunday service some time, maybe you’ll see a community of supportive people. If you can’t imagine you life without religion, why don’t you try going to a bar once to see what it is like to do something different.

3

Let’s finish on the example from politics… Why be an ultra right and support ideas like “total repeal of gun control laws” or “total denial of climate change”, or be an ultra left and support “complete police defunding” or “communism like policies”. By being in the middle you can take a weighted approach to making choices about policies. You can take the best of the two world.

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