I just read an interview in the Harvard Business Review about an interesting man I’ve never heard of: Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is an astrophysicist and a major media star who says that balance in life may be overrated. His academic and career experiences are beyond my capacity to fully appreciate, but his point about balance is not.
Looking back, I can recognize that my best moments happen when life is a bit out of whack. There’s nothing wrong with things going along as planned and finding what I expect to find. But I suppose that doesn’t stretch me much either.
Sometimes a wrench gets thrown into my life. I’m off balance, forced out of my routine. The entropy that follows leads me to seek alternatives to the status quo. Suddenly I’m on an adventure. I uncover new things about me and those around me. I grow.
Other times I choose to disrupt my life balance on purpose. I’ll spot an open window of opportunity that may close any moment. Taking advantage of it may require dumping everything else I’m doing. I give up my sense of stability in order to maximize the current opportunity. I always figure I’ll find balance again once the window has closed and I’m successfully on the other side.
Of course, I have friends and colleagues who think differently than me, and I admire how they consistently achieve greatness by careful design. They often run circles around me with their accomplishments. It’s as if they’ve found the secret formula for structuring their days and living in perfect equilibrium. I dream about hiding their car keys or deleting a bunch of appointments from their electronic calendars. I haven’t done it yet, but those people had better be on the lookout.
The good news is, I have felt totally out of balance recently. Nothing seems to be staying in good order.
So, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, I may be on to something big.