Lately I’ve been struggling with this idea of ‘completion’. What I mean by that is the constant tug-and-pull for our attention, the need to be ‘something’ or ‘someone’, and the incredible amount of stress that we put on ourselves to finish every task that comes across our imaginary desk. What I’m attempting (albeit weakly) to describe is finding the right balance and striking the right chord between what we aspire to be and who we are in the here and now. The struggle is real.
You could say that I’m somewhat of a home-body. When I’m at home, I’m a dad. I’m also a husband trying to help my sweet wife. I’m a remote health care consultant, and most of the time, I do that at home. I’m also trying to write music, which happens at home. I enjoy writing and updating this blog while at home. Managing my time effectively can make or break my day, but as it pertains to this post, I’ve thought I lot about finding the balance in the mayhem of my life. I’m always waging this internal battle.
We all do it. Every day. The pressure keeps mounting, and pretty soon, we’re walking volcanoes ready for eruption. How to find equilibrium? What makes the difference?
Make Habits. Keep Habits.
Being happy and finding purpose in life comes down to one thing: Habits. Neuroscientists would agree with me that the best way to be happy, live healthy, and develop your talents and abilities is to establish patterns in your life. Good ones. Ones that improve your overall well-being. Little by little, step by step, be better every day. Put in work, invest in yourself, and be willing to do it long-term. We look at great people and wonder, “How did they get to where they are today?” The answer is that they are committed to their personal vision, their habits, and have sacrificed to get there. It’s not all pure, raw talent that breeds success. None of the incredibly successful people I know are geniuses or have the physique of LeBron James. They do have good habits though.
On the other side of the coin, if you have bad habits you want to fix, take the advice of Harvard geneticist Dr. Rudy Tunzi (it would also help you to watch a five minute video on epigenetics):
- Recognize bad habits
- Repeat healthy choices
- Rewire your neural activity
- Reprogram your gene expression
WHAT THE WHAT?!
If you’re wondering what the heck this means like I was, Dr. Tunzi in short is saying that all of us control the story of our lives. We are not all ‘hard-wired’ for a given type of life. We can literally shape our genes based on the environment and habits that we have. His research is more aimed at stopping chronic diseases, but I think it’s still relevant. It’s never too late to change. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Your brain is an incredible muscle and you can find the balance you want in your life, but you have to form habits and patterns.
What types of things will help you slow-down, de-stress, and make you happier? I wish there was a silver bullet, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. However, I’ve got some suggestions (I’m using these categories loosely). Remember this, I AM.
Inspiration: Church, Worship, Prayer, Fasting, Lectures, Learning, Sermons, Scriptures, Service, Coaching, Teaching
Art: Museums, Theater, Music, Painting, Composing, Instruments, Sculpture, Creating, Writing, Building
Movement: Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Qi Gong, Exercise, All Sports, Weightlifting, Hiking
I know that these lists do not have everything, but should give you a starting place.
How Much? How Long?
As a general rule of thumb, if you pick a couple of things from the I AM approach and do them a few minutes a day (15-30), I think that will immediately give you results. You will feel happier and more complete as a human being. I would also say you’ll feel more confident and have more energy. Whatever you choose, and however much time you dedicate will depend on the person.
For me, I do one activity for every letter. When I do that, I’m more productive, my brain feels sharper, and I’m a lot more pleasant to be around.
What do you think? Put it to the test.