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"Balance" is an interesting, and misleading, concept. When I imagine living a balanced life, I instinctively conjure up ideals of waking at six a.m. to practise yoga, nourishing myself with a "balance" of the requisite protein, carbs and fats, doing a "balanced" amount of study and exercise and socialising and "balancing" out my hard work with an evening of reading and tea.

That sounds like the perfect day, but perfection does not a balanced life make.

So what if I sleep in, but stay up later than I'd like in order to squeeze my yoga in? What if I eat a less-than-ideal lunch but then make up for it with an extra half an hour at the gym?

I don't think that's balance either. Making sure the "good" and the "bad" even each other out is how you balance your bank account, not your life.

Perhaps the only kind of balance truly required for a happy life is one between ambition and acceptance. Try your absolute hardest, if you want, then fail a thousand times and keep smiling about it. Dust yourself off and try again...

Or don't.

Allow yourself to fail. To be lazy. Even to do nothing at all. But know the reason for your actions (or lack thereof).

Don't try because you "should", or because you owe it to anyone, or because it makes you "a good person". Try because the only direction in evolution is up, and all change is an opportunity for self-definition. Try because to remain static is to make a decision too--- so why not instead make one that gets things moving? Change is natural law. Acknowledge that and then claim your rightful power within it.

Or don't. Sit on the sidelines for a little while. For a long while. Watch the world go by. Feel the urgency gnawing at you, the fear of failure, the hesitation. Take a step forward. Stumble. Scurry back to safety and peer out again.

Realise that eventually, things will change. You will change. It is the natural order of things to shift, and this includes perspective. Soon enough it will occur to you that there is nothing else to do but evolve. No matter that you've been stagnating for a few weeks (or a few years); it cannot stay that way forever. Do something right now--- or wait. It does not matter. Life will happen anyway. But if given the choice (and make no mistake, you have been given it), wouldn't you prefer to be at the wheel? Why allow someone else to drive and then sit in the passenger seat and complain about how they're not doing it your way?

Motivation to change will come when you realise that everything you do (or don't do), you do for yourself. There is no other way to live. Think you're being guilted into covering a sick coworker's shift? Babysitting a neighbour's child when you have a thousand other things on your plate, because you're too polite to say no? Celebrate that! Embrace it, because you've just defined yourself. Don't like it? Redefine it. Realise that whether you choose something grudgingly or enthusiastically, you are choosing it nevertheless. But the power of your choice is dormant until you acknowledge it.

I think happiness is achieved when you realise that every choice furthers your growth. Some show you what you don't want to be. They're great choices! They're the ones that remind you where you're actually headed, so you don't get bored and fall asleep at the wheel. Without those choices, you're driving down a monotonous road with no signage and no markers. You don't even know what hemisphere you're driving in. Don't regret "bad" decisions, because they still get you somewhere. They get you moving.

Make choices. Make them as often as you can--- consciously and single-mindedly. Make choices. They will get you into situations ("good" and "bad" ones), and situations are great opportunities to introduce yourself to the world as whoever you like.


Or don't. It doesn't matter, because that's a choice too. Except now, you know that it is. Do with that knowledge what you will.