Finding Balance: The Pendulum Effect
When we speak of balance, many times it is in the context of work-life balance. Trying to find balance in any area of our lives can be difficult.
As with all things, there is always two sides of the coin. Pushing too far towards either end of the spectrums can be unhealthy.
The Protestant Work Ethic
Many of us were programmed to believe that our self-worth and value comes from our level of activity. The more activity, the busier we are, the busier we are, the more we accomplish. At some point we learned to equate our accomplishments with our self-worth and value.
This concept is the foundation for the Protestant work ethic. German Sociologist, Max Weber, actually believed there was a direct correlation between worldly success and eternal salvation. So for many folks, hard work was dogmatically pursued. Tying economic success to eternal salvation might seem a bit ridiculous for some folks. The truth is that this mindset was foundational in the meteoric rise of our country’s economic and worldly success.
The problem is that when you tie your value to your accomplishments, it creates a mindset of never being good enough. It also breeds a culture of workaholism, because you can always do something better, faster, or cheaper. Especially if and when your freedom and salvation depends upon it!
This belief is a major contributor to a work life imbalance that is heavily tilted towards work. This mindset is unhealthy and if pushed too far, can cost you deeply, sometimes in the only areas in life that really matter.
The Un-Protestant Work Ethic?
Push the pendulum to the opposite extreme and fast forward the story to what is unfolding in our country today. More and more folks seem to favor a lifestyle that is more heavily weighted towards life and much less focused on work.
Today in America, we have millions of job openings, and yet employers cannot find people to fill those positions. Yes, I realize some of these jobs are minimum wage. And yet, I have a client who pays entry level laborers $21.00 an hour, with great benefits and bonuses, who still cannot find employees.
On the positive side, companies are raising wages and offering incentives for folks to work. An idea, which might be long overdue in this country, and while needed, it doesn’t solve the problem.
We are still experiencing a shortage of employees, at a time when millions of people collect unemployment.
Mom I’m Home
Recently, a friend shared a story about his stepdaughters’ friend. He is a 28 year old male who is unemployed and has been for nearly two years. He is healthy, smart, and completely capable of working. However he prefers to hang out with his friends, watch Tik-Tok videos, and play video games.
Recently, when his other roommates decided to go off in different directions, instead of getting a job and supporting himself, he opted to move home with his mother. As I said, he is perfectly capable of working…he just doesn’t want to!
His work life balance is heavily tilted toward life, so much so, that the idea of work is non-existent. This too creates a sense of low self-worth and value, but for a completely different reason. Having no purpose in life, not feeling as if what you do matters, or being lost also lead to feelings of low self-worth and value.
It is unhealthy as trying to find your self-worth and value from being a workaholic.
A Seismic Shift
The pandemic is creating chaos in many of our lives. We are experiencing a seismic shift as the pendulum swings away from what we knew, believed, and want to be normal.
These are very uncertain times, and yet we must be careful to not allow the chaos and uncertainty of the world, to throw our own lives out of balance.
Finding balance, the middle ground, in every aspect of our lives will insure that we stay centered and grounded, even if the world seems to be chaotic and out of control. We must be careful to not be too extreme in our thinking or allow fear to rule us.
Finding balance by stepping back and looking at both sides of the coin, the story, the issue, the problem, the challenge, the situation might be the best way to approach most things in life, if not everything.
If we can accomplish this, then maybe, just maybe, that is the real key to saving ourselves and our salvation!
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