Balance: It’s Hard To Find… But So Important

Balance is everything. I’m confident that most of you have heard the statement that “too much of anything is bad for you”. I write of this because this past week I had midterms, readings, and papers all due that week. However, what I found to be the most difficult was not actually completing these assignments or studying for my exams but instead finding balance between my work and personal life. At the start of the week, I found myself studying for hours on end with essentially no breaks. I quickly realized that this was far from sustainable and if I continued I would finish the week completely burned out both physically and mentally. I personally love sports and find exercise to be stress relieving. So Monday night, instead of studying, I played basketball. Crazy right? No, on the contrary it was healthy. It was rejuvenated and kept me sane. So for all of you out there studying and stressing out, find that balance. Take a step back from it all and remember your mental health is so much more important than a score on a midterm.

It being midterm season I thought it’d be important to discuss a crucial life hack in this week’s blog. But now let’s discuss the Brazilian Protests of 2013 and the various experiences of new movements. I am referring to the Free Fare Movement which arose to counteract the rise of bus and metro fares in São Paulo. According to Pablo Ortellado, the movement organized six rallies and demonstrations over the span of two weeks. These events affected São Paulo’s most vital areas. Massive turnout with upwards to a million people pushed the government to reduce the fares. Ortellado describes the June mobilizations as “horizontal, non-partisan, and based on direct action”. Although very similar to movements such Occupy Wall Street and the 15M movement in Spain, a very important aspect sets it apart. The movement only had one demand which was to lower the bus and metro fares. In fact, not only was it a singular demand but it was a very specific one with quantitative value. They demanded that the fares be reduced by 20 cents. This allowed them to develop a clear strategy while also maintaining the horizontality and counter cultural creativity of similar movements. Ultimately, it led to concrete change which many movements fail to accomplish.

I personally find this to be game changing. New movements should look at this model and shape their own movements accordingly. The actual outcome is extremely important and as I stated earlier so is balance. New movements need to be able to successfully handle its relation to mainstream media, government, and political parties while also maintaining horizontality (Ortellado). Movements who value their democratic process over everything else ultimately risk it when they ignore the importance of result-oriented tactics and strategies. They must find the balance between the process and the actual results. When they do so, I believe that progressive change will occur. What do you think? Do you agree? Feel free to comment or tweet me @lrin96! I’d love to hear your thoughts!