Ted Talk Tuesday – Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

This is an interesting talk from Nigel Marsh on the importance and methods of a well-balanced life. Marsh mentions many several good points but the one that sticks out is the fact that small things matter. If we take small measured efforts to balance our lives  we could potentially experience significant change. Are you happy with your work/life balance? How do you maintain that balance in such a fast-paced world? Share in the comments.

 

But the trouble is so many people talk so much rubbish about work-life balance. All the discussions about flexi-time or dress-down Fridays or paternity leave only serve to mask the core issue, which is that certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family.

Now the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging the reality of the situation you’re in. And the reality of the society that we’re in is there are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

The second observation I’d like to make is we need to face the truth that governments and corporations aren’t going to solve this issue for us. We should stop looking outside. It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance. It’s particularly important — this isn’t on the World Wide Web, is it? I’m about to get fired — it’s particularly important that you never put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial corporation. Now I’m not talking here just about the bad companies — the “abattoirs of the human soul,” as I call them. (Laughter) I’m talking about all companies. Because commercial companies are inherently designed to get as much out of you [as] they can get away with. It’s in their nature; it’s in their DNA; it’s what they do —even the good, well-intentioned companies.

The third observation is we have to be careful with the time frame that we choose upon which to judge our balance... We need to be realistic. You can’t do it all in one day. We need to elongate the time frame upon which we judge the balance in our life, but we need to elongate itwithout falling into the trap of the “I’ll have a life when I retire, when my kids have left home,when my wife has divorced me, my health is failing, I’ve got no mates or interests left.”(Laughter) A day is too short; “after I retire” is too long. There’s got to be a middle way.

A fourth observation: We need to approach balance in a balanced way.

Now my point is the small things matter. Being more balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life. Moreover, I think, it can transform society. Because if enough people do it, we can change society’s definition of success away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.

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