Thursday, July 28, 2011

Balancing Act: Part 2

That long beam on the red box in the middle of a forgotten and gray, gloomy alley - its sturdy and precarious state - caught my attention. Everything is a balance and even slight immoderation, excess, lack... can destroy a moment, mood, or venture.

Here's the follow-up: In my life, I'm often in my own way. I lose the balance. Shake it. Or fail to act on the first quivering signs of trouble. In a Newsweek article on Andre Agassi (and tennis and mental athleticism), Timothy Gallwey asserted:
“There are more players that have the talent to be the best in the world than there are winners [...] winners get in their own way less. They interfere with the raw expression of talent less. And to do that, first they win the war against fear, against doubt, against insecurity—which are no minor victories.”
Every day, we somehow win or lose the balance of all these negatives against our motivations. But, aside from the mental battle with obstacles keeping us from greatness, something else is happening. Economists (of course it was economists) have shown that winner's euphoria comes from the power and success experienced in our own heads - especially when we can compare our achievement to someone's failure -  
"What's better than winning? Doing it while someone else loses." 
Which really, in essence, is linked to the right mix of testosterone and the hormone that regulates it: cortisol. The appropriate amounts have been found to increase winning and dominant behaviors. So, scientists working with business schools have tried to teach students how to activate these hormones through diet and other strategies.

If you're like me and that theory's not really your style, there's also the "do one thing really well" and just that one thing approach (which makes me feel less like we're just a sack of chemicals and life is meaningless because that seems to be what the scientists want you to believe). Study Hacks blog has been touting this mantra for quite some time and I also recently read the same thought on Zen Habits. The idea is that besides trying to manipulate the hormones in your body to help you "win" at things, you'll find success (and happiness) by focusing your energy and talent on being expert at one particular area. Namaste.
This flies in the face of the Renaissance Man and "well-roundedness," like we used to say (I guess this pursuit is so 2000s now).

But I can't let that go. I like having a million things that keep me busy and happy. I hate to think that I'm just one-dimensional and so is everyone else.

I get lost in inspirations.
And I can't realistically toss my other aspirations aside and become a Nat Geo explorer/adventurer/photographer tomorrow (real title - seriously). Can I?

So I just keep trying to balance. And a lot of days, I'll still lose.

October 2007 - Baltimore, MD

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