Don’t squat with your spurs on.
Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
Never slap a man who’s chewing
A Cowboy’s Guide to Life
We’ve taken an
Now we’ll take a step back and look at all these life elements as one, synergistic whole. We need to examine how all four elements interrelate and create the integrated life balance questions—both large and small—that we face every day . . . questions such as:
Do I work late on this project, or do I quit now and go home?
Do I stay with my current job, or do I take time out to get an advanced degree that will increase my
With 20 things on my task list today that all feel like A-1
Should I take a second job and try to get out of debt, even though it means more time away from the family?
Do I stay at home with my new baby or go back to work?
Which is more important: spending more time with my family or getting involved in a community service project that would make a difference to others?
Should we move to a
Should we stretch our resources to pay for nursing home care for my parents or try to figure out a way to take them into our home?
Should I invest in private school education for my children, or should I send them to public school?
Do I keep working on this deadline-driven project or take time to exercise?
These are the kinds of life questions that come at us day in and day out. And they will never be resolved with “balance the scale” or “run between the bases fast enough to touch them all” approaches to life. Believing they will can only create frustration.
As we’ve said, balance is a dynamic equilibrium in which work, family, time, and money are all essential
There are times in our lives when seasonal imbalance is
The answer, we suggest, is wisdom .
Basically, wisdom is navigational intelligence. It’s the capacity we’ve worked to build in each of the chapters in this book. It’s the ability to make the choices that create the positive consequences we want to have in our lives.
Think about the excerpts from
A Cowboy’s Guide to Life
at the beginning of this chapter. What would happen if you
squat with your spurs on . . . or kick a cow chip on a hot day . . . or slap a man who’s chewing
On the other hand, what would happen if you decided to go to college instead of skateboarding your way through life . . . or put 10 percent of your income into a savings account every month . . . or invest time and effort in creating a great
Something or someone who is “wise” is “characterized by wisdom;
To one degree or another, we’re all aware of wisdom. It’s reflected in the way we speak:
“It’s not smart to ‘burn the
“Those people are really wise with their money.”
“It’s dumb to
“It would be foolish to buy that on credit—with interest, we’d end up paying for it twice.”
“They’re a nice young couple, but they spend their money as fast as they get it. That doesn’t seem very smart.”
“I didn’t say anything at the time; it wouldn’t have been wise.”
As we suggested in Chapter 2, the more we learn to value principles, evaluate experience and invite inspiration, the stronger our navigational intelligence, or “wisdom,” will be.
First Things First
Stop Living Your Job, Start Living Your Life: 85 Simple Strategies to Achieve Work/Life Balance
Harvard Business Review on Work and Life Balance (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction