A Glass of Work-life balance? For me?

No, thanks.

Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash

Do you believe in work-life balance? I don’t.

I think we — humans — are very complex. We can have clarity in certain things, and be utterly confused about others.

I tried hard to learn how to cook a meal: I survived college; I am an okay cook. But if you had to pay me to cook, I’d rather scrub the whole floor of your restaurant. And the pavement. Okay, maybe not the pavement.

My guess is that when we do anything often enough, we can gather data:

How we feel, our energy, internal and external feedback, and then use that to plot our next move.

We are all unique and no single path fits everyone.

Hard work is getting such a bad rep these days. Hustle has become the banner of disease.

You shouldn’t work this hard.

They’re probably on drugs!

That’s not healthy, relax!

Why?

Why should I feel bad for wanting to put in the work on something I care about?

Why do I have to listen to someone who did the same thing I am doing, to build a fortune, and now that they can afford to sit back and automate their business, they tell me I should work smart, not hard?

Why?

Beyond skill, work ethic, and talent, there’s luck, coincidences, and miracles.

How can we control any of those?

My ability to show up every day is the biggest predictor of how much I can influence success in my chosen direction.

Guess what? I am aware that I could still work hard and fail.

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I find that the people closest to you who seek that you remain where you are, usually do it out of convenience for them.

It’s not hate, but it could be.

It’s not envy, but it could be.

They just can’t have someone change their rhythm for them. They can’t have someone who decides:

“I don’t like where my life is right now, I am going to do something about it”.

Because it’s hard. It takes guts. It takes faith. It takes humility to accept change. It takes massive amounts of self-belief — amounts that most people either feel shame for having or have had removed from an upbringing that made them filled with insecurity.

It’s even harder when it’s a parent or a spouse.

When the people you need to have faith in you, don’t — it really, really hurts.

I spent years of my life fighting to create. I knew, in my gut, that I wanted to be a writer. I could have started my journey at 16, but I was sent to the science class.

Why?

‘You are more likely to get a secure job with science’.
I started college twice. Filled with shame, self-doubt, and a massive lack of self-confidence. I left from being the youngest in my class to being the oldest.

It wasn’t hate. It wasn’t jealousy. It wasn’t envy.

It was love.

But mostly — fear.

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Fear of the unknown. Fear of risks. Fear of failure. Fear that I would not survive.

Fear built from living in a country that never gave those who worked hard their true return. A country where you had to know someone, to be someone.

Fear because every youth is working hard to go abroad to seek a better future after living with the same president for 36 years.

How can you have faith in such conditions?

People who listen to Gary Vaynerchuk fall into two main categories:

  1. Those who get his context.
  2. The rest. Those who make those in the first — including Gary Vaynerchuk — look like they want to hustle to death and have no life.

Not. True.

As you can tell, I am in the first group.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s message boils down to three things:

1. Be self-aware.
2. Be nice.
3. Be happy.

That’s it. You have one life, figure out what makes you happy, find a way to stay happy while doing that, and be nice all the way.

It’s not about hustle. It’s about happiness.

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Whose Life Is It?

Whose life are you living?

On your deathbed — if you’re blessed to grow old enough — will your chief complaint be that you listened to everyone but yourself and lived a life you weren’t proud of?

I’d rather do what I want now, listen to how the world — and my gut — react to it, and decide to change on my terms.

I have a feeling I’d live and die happier that way.

We all have things we’re good at, things we love; things we’re bad at, things we hate.

I want to do what I love and get great at what I’m good at.

There is no balance on this path. Only self-awareness and suffocating any voice that is not in tune with your personal legend.

I’ve been waking early, sleeping late, feeling happier, connecting more with my wife, feeling confident, being present — and more — ever since I stopped trying to find balance.

There is no right way, only your way.

And mine has no work-life balance — only happiness.