Life’s a perpetual balancing act.
Too much, too little, we teeter, we totter, and often we’ll topple over. Here are five bits of advice for your next handstand, or your next decision that will affect the intricate balance of life:
1. Take comfort, we’re all unbalanced.
During a random handstand this morning, I realized no matter how long and hard I practice, I’ll never achieve perfect balance. Even after a life of dedication, attempting a handstand on a log floating down Class 5 rapids would end very wetly.
Everything is in a constant state of flux. We’re all trying to stay on our feet (or hands) in some way or another. Simply acknowledging that perfect balance is unattainable is quite liberating.
2. Shhh, listen to the advice that’s all around.
Ignoring external noise and tuning into the moment gives a handstand the attention it deserves to notice what small adjustments are needed to improve balance for the next attempt.
The body talks when it moves, telling us what it needs less or more of. The mind often offers insight during a shower, which might-as-well be the voice of God. Friends might know you better than you think, they have the best outside perspective of you after all.
There is a constant circulation of advice and hints offering suggestions for better balance. We just have to be open enough to hear it, then brave enough to do something differently.
3. Compete with only yourself.
Don’t set out to break the handstand world record, set out to break the record you set yesterday.
Pass or fail, tomorrow is another chance to rebalance and learn from today’s experiences.
Still breathing? Great. That breathe is all that’s needed to refocus and continue to improve your balance.
4. Limit how others affect your balance.
Trying to maintain balance while passively responding to the world is like trying to do a handstand in a moshpit.
Much like how corporations, despite good intentions, forces anyone who wants a promotion to sacrifice other aspects of their life – physical, spiritual, intellectual, relational, etc…
Ultimately, we all have the choice of determining what the source of our unbalanced-ness is. Are you unbalanced based on your own actions, or in response to the desires of others?
5. Focus on making smaller changes.
During a handstand, it’s the micro adjustments in the wrists (the foundation) that have the most impact while balancing.
On the infinite scale that life is balancing on, action to change is limited to what we can rationally achieve. So in the pursuit of balance, the focus should be on small adjustments that have concrete achievable goals.
If you struggle to travel outside your own community of the weekends, then daydreaming about quitting your tedious 9-to-5 job to travel the world in search for balance causes unrealistic levels of arousal, leaving you disappointed when you’re still staring at a picture of Fiji above your desk a year later. Before committing to travel the world, start taking the scenic route home. Before committing to join a gym, start with 20 pushups every morning. Before committing to lose 30lbs, start setting your fork down between bites.
Small wins and adjustments are key to maintaining sustainable balance.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go… So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.”
–Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!