Sport Principle 8: Work/life balance is impossible to achieve. Don’t even try it.

About the Sport Principle

Think of a bike. It is always slightly off balance, either to one side or the other. Actually, this is precisely how it stays balanced. Life and work are like this. Don’t be fooled when you hear people talking about work/life balance, as though there is some kind of Utopia out there where everything in your life is in perfect balance. There isn’t. It’s an impossible dream. The sooner we realise this and stop pursuing the unachievable, the better off we’ll be. Elite athletes have to build rest into their training programmes. If they don’t, muscles will never recover and they will not see the benefits of training. Psychologically, top-level athletes need rest too. Otherwise, they just burn out and become demotivated. This applies absolutely to our lives.

Application to Life

Some people live by the mantra ‘work hard, play hard!’ There may be something in this! How great would it be to be able to be 100% in the zone when playing sport, or whatever you do to relax, and 100% ‘present’ with our wives and families when we’re with them, as well as giving 100% to our work when we’re doing that! But just be careful here. I’ve known too many men over the years give the best of themselves to a place that isn’t going to grow them one inch – their work. Work hard at your work, whatever it is, as an ambassador for Christ, but ultimately know this: if you dropped dead tomorrow, they’ll say: “He was a nice fella, next!” but all too often, we realise this too late. It’s true that nobody ever said on their deathbed: “I wish I’d spent more time in the office.” As people lie there taking their final breaths, they don’t seem to be interested in asking to see their bank account one last time, or even a list of their achievements. Instead, they want to be surrounded by that most precious gift of God: people. When it comes to God’s people, never stray too far away from that greatest invention of God: His church. It’s here that we learn a Godly sense of balance for our lives. Of all the ways it is possible to describe Jesus, ‘balanced’ isn’t necessarily one of them. He was something of an extremist fanatic, and yet when we look for a perfect model of how to live a truly balanced life in all the ways that life was designed to be lived, Jesus stands head and shoulders above all others as our supreme example. Be fanatical and obsessive about whatever it is you are doing in its time and in its place. The notion that everything in life fits into a neat box labelled ‘balance’ simply doesn’t work and can lead to a half-hearted approach to everything if we are not careful. Be a passionate man of God who gives your all to everything you do.

Work at becoming a balanced fanatic! 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Colossians 3:23

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