Life is all about balance. When we concentrate too strongly on one area of our lives, we leave no time for the others. It’s as though we are painting with a single color. The canvas of our lives becomes flat and uninteresting, as all contrast and definition is sapped from it. The solitary color becomes less vibrant and visually appealing as well when it’s all we have to work with. Forgive the contrived painting metaphors if you will and focus instead on the intent behind them. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy is a saying for a reason. When our lives are uni-dimensional we lack any depth.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“One of the side effects of doing too much is developing monotone minds. We spend so much time in our work and in work-related activities that our awareness and our perceptions become narrower and narrower. We reach a point where we can’t talk about anything but our work.
We have become dull and uninteresting. We may even find that we’re bored with ourselves. This happens to those of us who work full time at home, and it happens to those who sit at the top of a corporation.
We have taken a rainbow and compressed it into a solid, uninteresting beam of light.”
I notice this in my own life given I often find myself talking only of work. That’s how I know I am focusing too much on my career and not enough on other areas of my life that make me an interesting and well-rounded person. We all have to have areas of our lives where we can let loose and play, laugh, and have some fun. We have to give ourselves the freedom to explore different aspects of who we are including our interests. Work is work. We might be passionate about it or we might not, but at the end of the day, it is something we do because it provides a paycheck. There is something to be said for those activities we pursue solely out of pure enjoyment because they make us happy. Our lives need depth, and that requires more than one dimension. It takes many facets to make a sparkling diamond. The light of our lives falls flat when we have but one.