NEW: Michael Phillips

Maybe the hippies were on to something – balance can be worth stiving for, even for Gen-Y entrepreneurs.

Balance is best

Michael Phillips

After a decade of solid growth, record employment levels and people working 15 hours a day, seven days a week, there appears to be an ever-increasing management craze focusing on spirituality. It’s a direct move away from the corporate, capitalist lifestyle and a push to “expanding your horizons”.

From yoga to health spas and facial scrubs, men and women are questioning the daily grind more and more and whether life is too short to spend your time in an office or pounding the pavement for the next “sell”.

It’s not too hard to understand why people are raising these questions more and more. We are all working harder, longer and faster. Not only that, we’re told the world is about to cave in and there are so many lives wasted each day, we all want to make some “greater contribution”. My best take on this is the age-old adage of “balance”.

Hippies have been professing about a balanced life for decades, emphasising the need for balancing the physical, mental and emotional aspects of our lives in order to achieve “fulfilment” (if I start to get to flighty here please take a Panadol, lie down and get back to the rest of the article later).

But seriously, there is something in this for all of us and it is something well worth addressing before our time is up. Let’s look at each of these three categories and what we can do to address them:


For some, their work lives may provide this (sports stars, labourers etc) but for others this is one area that gets neglected. You only have to look at the obesity rates to see we might be neglecting this one a bit. It doesn’t mean we have to go to boot camp and be grilled for an hour three times a week. But more importantly, look for an interest that satisfies you and at the same time gives your heart, and mind, a work out. You might play a round of golf, walk the Kokoda track or do an hour of pilates; the key here is being active.


For most of us this is where work comes in. Sometimes there are great mental challenges in the office while other times you feel like your mind is melting. Either way, it is important to keep your mind challenged and continuously learn. Read books, complete a crossword or even have a few wines with friends and tackle that contentious issue; all of these will stimulate the most important organ in your body. As my grandparents always say: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!”


Whether it be a loved one, a goldfish or a tear jerker movie, we need to stir our emotions. The most obvious one is love, and when you get this one right, nothing is better. But this is not the case for everyone. You’ll find that if you can balance the first two categories (physical and mental), then the emotional will be easier, as they are all related. But the focus here is to change routine regularly. Do something you never thought you would or something that is for your loved one rather than yourself. You’ll be surprised how good giving can make you feel.

So it all seems pretty straight forward, but in practice continues to be a daily challenge. It’s kind of like trying to ensure you eat all the required vitamins, minerals etc each day. You need to get a good blend of everything to ensure a healthy, happy and fulfilling life (diet).

After all, it is January, so get some resolutions in place and plan for a balanced and fulfilling 2008.


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