Issue #45 — 4.2 minute read
👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
The self-help industry is selling you a fraction of the story.
If you listen to many of today’s self-help gurus or influencers, you’ll pick up on a familiar theme: “Do these things and then you’ll be happy, healthy, and wealthy.” What are the things they say we should be doing? Well, if you combine them all together, the list looks something like this:
Wake up at 5:00 AM; meditate for an hour; go to the gym; journal; work hard at your job and get promoted; create a successful side-project; watch this movie/show; read that book; hang out with those friends; spend time with family; be the perfect parent; keep your place tidy; cook healthy meals; see the world; buy a house; save money. Oh, and somehow sleep 8+ hours.
Hearing this over and over again can lead you to believe these people have everything figured out and you’re simply a failure if you can’t do it all. But we forget they are human just like us.
And if you’re human like me, you know it’s near impossible to do all of those things in one day, let alone every single day of your life. And on the flip side, you’ve likely experienced how unhealthy it is to put all of your focus into only one area (i.e., your job, neglecting other important facets of life).
What these gurus forget to mention is that life is all about balance. Give and take. When you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else.
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.
When you realize that you are an authentic projection of the universe, just as you are at this moment, then there is nowhere to go, there’s no need to do anything. And out of that peace comes energy. Real energy instead of phony energy, which is trying to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps, the usual kind of energy which gets progressively nowhere with more and more busyness.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Ursula K. LeGuin
Do you see how an act is not, as young men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws, and it hits or misses, and that's the end of it. When that rock is lifted, the earth is lighter; the hand that bears it heavier. When it is thrown, the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or falls, the universe is changed. On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do, is well done, and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole.
But we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility.
If you spend too much time warming up, you'll miss the race. If you don't warm up at all, you may not finish the race.
Anne Morrow Lindberg
A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
Stay in the center and be ready to move in any direction.
Unlocking balance begins with the knowledge that we are complex beings who have conflicting desires at any given moment. When we assess where we are now versus where we want to be—and discover our why—it becomes easier to narrow our focus on how to spend our time and energy.
Is your goal to reduce anxiety? Then sure, try meditation and exercise. Wanting a new job? You might have to spend less time exercising and socializing so you can study, update your resume, and interview. Trying to build up your savings account? That requires you to find ways to spend less money, such as cooking at home more often or finding cheaper activities to do with friends and family.
If you want help visualizing everything you’re attempting to balance, try this Wheel of Life exercise. When you are confident in how you’re spending your time and energy, and you know your why, you won’t feel like a failure when you’re not doing everything on the latest self-help listicle.
Priorities change depending on the season of life we find ourselves in. When that happens, simply reassess and adjust your wheel.
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
The Lazy Philosophy Podcast
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