balance and pursuit



~2 min read


236 words

Last week I was very focused on finding a sustainable balance of work, reflection, and exercise. I thought I’d found a path. But, then life got in the way and my plan was derailed.

It was while I was reflecting on this deviation that two emails caught my attention. Both seemed to speak directly to me and address the particular question I was mulling.

Rohan Rajiv wrote Out of balance, a short post on how if you’re always striving, being out of balance is a necessary consequence. Instead of fighting it, recognize it and respond.

The second email was from Justin Jackson and titled The 80% energy principle (though perhaps the slug is even more informative: “the principle that changed my life”).

Justin seemed to reach the same conclusion with Rohan: if you’re always pursuing the most, you’ll never find balance. His proscription was slightly different, however. Citing a Confucian practice of hara hachi bu,1 Justin suggests pacing yourself. Stop trying to do everything at once (which I don’t believe is Rohan’s suggestion).

In the long run the results will speak for themselves.

While the lessons themselves were well timed, I’m also astonished at the serendipity of the experience. It seems that as long as I’m open to ideas, they show up right when I need them.


  • 1 Justin’s rough translation of hari hachi bu is “eat until you are 80% full.”

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  • Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!