How a Perspective Shift Helps Create Balance

by Jonathan

How a Perspective Shift helps Create Balance

Yesterday was Monday and, as usual, I had a long list of things to do. Guess what, I didn’t do any of them because we took the day off and went to the coast. Not only did we have a wonderful time, but the whole experience left me feeling refreshed and more centered.

I found myself thinking how ironic it is that we only live an hour from the beautiful southern Oregon coast and yet we rarely go there. Considering how much we enjoy the experience, it seems almost inexcusable that we don’t make the trip more often.

How about you?

How often do you unplug from your regular routine and take a little time to relax, recharge, and just enjoy yourself? For productive people, this can be one of the greatest challenges to living a balanced life.

How many times have you put your personal needs on the back burner while you allow other, more pressing activities to become your priority? And when you finally do take time for a much needed break, how often do you find yourself wondering Why did I wait so long, what was I thinking? In a case like this, shifting your perspective will often make the lack of balance more obvious.

Let’s face it, no matter how much we get accomplished, there is always one more thing that absolutely must get done. In reality, the list is never ending. Therefore, postponing your personal time and making it dependent on getting everything else done is not a viable solution.

Appreciating the benefits of a perspective shift

I think we all recognize the importance of taking a break from productivity to maintain a healthy sense of balance in our lives. But this same kind of balancing act can also benefit us in almost every area of life. When we intentionally change our focus, we also shift our perspective. Doing so allows us to see things from a new and potentially beneficial vantage point.

We could use eye health to illustrate the practical benefits of such a perspective shift. If you read or stare at a computer screen for too long a period of time it strains your eyes. If you do it habitually it can eventually harm your vision. So, what do eye specialists suggest? They recommend that you regularly shift your focus and spend a few minutes looking at something in the distance. Do you see the similarities?

Don’t let fixation shrink your world

I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself, I have noticed that sometimes there is a fine line between focused and fixated. What’s the difference? When we focus on something so much that it throws everything else in life out of balance, we have ventured into the land of fixation.

Being fixated involves an obsession. It’s the difference between a productive person and a workaholic, or a fitness enthusiast and a gym rat. If we allow any single area of life to create an obvious imbalance in every other area, it will shrink our world and narrow our perception.

Granted, short periods of very intense focus may be the only way to accomplish important goals. In such cases, we need to keep an eye on our overall balance and be willing to rein ourselves back if the wheel of our life gets out of balance and starts to wobble.

5 areas where a perspective shift helps create balance

Here are five areas of life where we can give attention to our focus and initiate intentional shifts in our perspective to help maintain our sense of balance.

1. Balance work and play. We’ve already covered this pretty well, but it is an area that deserves careful monitoring. This is especially true for very productive, over achiever types. It is also valid for those who tend to put recreation ahead of everything else in life.

2. Balance mental and physical activities. We’ve all heard the expression move it or lose it and this applies equally to our mind and body. Never forget that the mind and body relationship is very synergistic. If you ignore one, the other will suffer. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you don’t have time to eat good food and get regular exercise. The truth is you really can’t afford not to.

3. Be an observer and a participator. There are incredible benefits to carefully observing the world around you. It is one of the primary ways that we learn. But there is something that we should never forget – life is not a spectator sport. Life is for living and that means that we need to fully participate if we want our life to be a rich and rewarding experience.

4. Balance macro and micro focus. This means that we need to make an effort to see both the big picture as well as the details. If we focus exclusively on details we might become like the person who can’t see the forest for the trees. On the other hand, if all we look at is the big picture we will miss the richness of life that comes from appreciating the intricacy that make the big picture possible.

5. Balance interaction with solitude. Being around other people can add so much fullness to life. We are social creatures and the need for different levels of connection seems to be hardwired into our nervous systems. But it is in solitude that we connect with our deeper self and have time to reflect on and appreciate our place in the tapestry of life. Don’t forget to take time to be alone with your thoughts and connect with your true self.

Do you struggle for balance in any of these areas?
How do you use a shift in perspective to create balance?
The lines are open!

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

marc

Great observation, Jonathan!

Sometimes it is difficult to unplug from the regular routine, even when great opportunities to enjoy ourselves appear. We consider our daily routines so important that we even don’t notice them anymore.

The perspective shift to a balanced life is probably the solution. What if we make balance a goal in life? Work and play, observer and player, etc …

Thanks for this new inspiration!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Marc, I think part of the challenge is that most of us juggle so many different roles and responsibilities these days. And trust me on this, being an entrepreneur makes it that mush more complex. If life were a bit simpler it seems like it would be easier to actually complete one thing and then move to the next (sounds reasonable anyway, but it might just be theory).

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Sandra / Always Well Within

Jonathan,

My intention for this week is to create balance between my online and offline life. So this article couldn’t be more timely! I especially appreciate your points on changing your focus, carefully monitoring our balance of work and play and tuning into the big picture.

I enjoyed a full week of solitude and digital sabbatical last week. As I return, I see how easy it is to get sucked into the vortex. It’s giving me much to ponder!

Thanks for this helpful perspective.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Sandra, thank you, that is a specific point of balance that is well worth mentioning (online and offline). It really can be like a vortex sometimes. I know the relief of a “digital sabbatical” and highly recommend incorporating them into our schedules. I have managed to reduce weekend online time to almost none and it feels great.

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Kristi Hines

I should bookmark those last five points. Sometimes I get caught up in details or too much work and no play. I’ve spent two months going pretty hard on the work side, and today was forced to put myself first as I realized I’ve been out of sorts health wise for awhile. Fortunately I have a good naturopathic doctor who is going to check out everything and set me back on the right path again. :)

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Kristi, for highly motivated people balance is always the hardest thing. And even though it does require monitoring, that’s a better option than getting sick or so stressed out that we are forced into a perspective shift. If it’s any consultation, I still struggle in this area also, especially when there is a big project in the works. I am a big fan of the naturopathic approach and I am sure you’ll be hitting on all ten cylinders real soon. Thanks for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure when we get a chance to connect.

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David Stevens

Hi Jonathan,
I love to observe and to participate. “Observations” form a large part of my blog posts. Changing one’s perspective or at least varying one’s perspective as a ‘try out’ is recommended. We can be fixated as you say with perhaps a certain view of/on things…..a change of perspective can free us of that. Thank you.
be good to yourself
David

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi David, I thought this was a nice way to express one of the big benefits of a perspective shift “We can be fixated as you say with perhaps a certain view of/on things…..a change of perspective can free us of that.”

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Sue

Great inspiration! You’ve got me thinking about how I tend to tackle most things with a focus on productivity, planning and details. I’d like to shift my perspective — in an everyday sort of way — to balance serious with playfulness and incorporate more fun. Thank you :~D

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Sue, you just hit on one of my favorite approaches to those serious things. I like to turn them into a game and then to have fun with them. I think that making a game out of a challenge or serious task makes everything seem lighter and more enjoyable. The key to that door is to simply ask ourselves How can I tun this into a game so it is fun?

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Melody

Hi Jonathan,

The timing of this post couldn’t be better for me. I actually manifested a light case of the flu for myself, just to slow myself down a bit. I’ve been pushing it a bit too hard lately and my former workaholic tendencies still make it hard for me to notice when I’m only feeling a small amount of resistance around this subject. Now, I’m resting and meditating most of the day and giving myself the rest I should’ve taken incrementally. Oh well, you live you learn, eh?

Thanks for the powerful reminder to slow down.

Hugs,
Melody

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Melody, this is a very insightful statement: I actually manifested a light case of the flu for myself, just to slow myself down a bit. That is exactly how it works. We are always seeking balance and sometimes that means being forced to the sidelines so we can get some needed rest. I would rather plan those breaks than have them dictated to me. And yes, like many people, I had to learn that lesson that hard way. Thanks for making that important point Melody!

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Eugene

Hey Jonathan,

Great article! I’ve only recently begun balancing work and life over the past year. Prior to that it was all work, which is probably why I burned out so fast.

A good tip I usually tell myself when I’m stressing out too much about work is that life is way too short to be working all day and night. You’ll never have enough time to enjoy the other things in life. There is so much out there that I’ve yet to experience and we’re not getting any younger!

-Eugene

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Trust me Eugene, the older we get the more we appreciate the wisdom of your observation. It’s not the day-to-day work that stands out in our memories. So, it’s a good idea to spend time creating meaningful moments to punctuate the mundane.

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Nancy

Great post Jonathan and happy to hear that you “made” the time to go to the coast – that is the fine line … recharging our souls or staying in our comfort zones.

You make great points and I think I’ll take myself to the beach which is 2 blocks away this afternoon and turn the computer off!

In gratitude for the reminders of balance,
Nancy

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Nancy, there is such a high concentration of negative ions at the beach, it really does change our perspective in a wonderful way. Enjoy!

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Andrew

This is SUCH an important concept… “Don’t let fixation shrink your world”

I think a nice change of perspective can make you even more productive when you return. It’s interesting because super-productive people feel like they don’t have time for a vacation or change of perspective, but really, they don’t have time NOT to get out of their fixation for a few days. Thanks for the reminder!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Andrew, I need that reminder myself sometimes. When you love what you do and thinks are clicking it can be difficult to pull yourself away. But as you said, it supports the greater good. Thanks!

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Cheryl

Hi Jonathon,
I really like number 5 balance, interaction with solitude. I enjoy being around people and working with teams, but I get cranky if I don’t get time to be with just me. Nice and quiet. Even if other people are around, I still need to steal away and curl up in a chair and gaze out the window. Replenishing!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

HI Cheryl, I can totally relate. Some of us (especially me) seem to have a greater need for that solitude. When I have time to collect my own thoughts it makes it so much more enjoyable to interact with others.

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Theresa Torres

Hi Jonathan,
It’s wonderful how you, as they say, hit the nail right on the head with your post. Of the 5 areas that you mentioned, number 2 and 5 hit me the most since I tend to concentrate more on mental (online) activities and as a result have gained weight. And since I spend hours online, I don’t have time for offline interaction and may be missing a lot on the richness of connecting with others.
This is a timely reminder for me to find a much needed balance in my life. I think that much like planning meals for the week, I also need to take the time to planning activities for relaxation and enjoyment.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Theresa, it’s an easy routine to slip into and I think we all struggle for balance in this area. The important thing is that you recognize the need for some adjustment. As long as we do that we will never wander too far out of balance.

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michaela

Hi Jonathan, thx for another wonderful article. #2 is the one for me as I’m still struggling with the pysical side of it. There are times when I manage a good routine of exercise and then I loose momentum and don’t do any excercise at all for several days. Well, I will use this article to make me go for a run today. Promise! :-)

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

It’s a common scenario I’m afraid. Making time for our physical self can easily be the first thing we sacrifice when we are busy. Ironically, that’s when we need exercise the most. Just keep climbing back on that horse!

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