Amidst numerous financial, social, political, and personal uncertainties, one of the toughest things to do is to find balance in your life. Our modern world is filled with advertisements which are designed to pull us every which way, leaving us with very little peace in our souls. The best solution is to, obviously, cut out all of this noise – delete Facebook, don’t watch the news, put your phone down (or get rid of it entirely).
Is this really feasible for many men though? For most, particular during our pandemic, it is not immediately so. If you cannot eliminate these negatives outright, then the next best step is to seek to negate the excesses and find balance and moderation.
What are some good steps to take then? Elements of a balanced life include:
1. Being Prudent with our Consumption
Man was not created to watch his life wither away by overconsumption. Consuming too much social media, news or pleasurable things leaves us lethargic physically, mentally and spiritually. If you are unable to outright eliminate your interaction with time and energy consuming things, then you need to be prudent about when, where and how much of each you consume. Set limits for yourself just like you would for your children. Be frugal in how you spend your attention. At the end of each day, reflect on what you consumed, how it affected your mind and soul, and see what you can further restrict. In order to find balance in your life, this is the most critical first step.
2. Living Modestly
There is a constant barrage of images, jingles and videos which attempt to sway us into obeying their every command. If you’ve done the first step, then you’re well on your way to cutting these negative influences out of your life entirely. However, the behavior to consume is still implanted in many of our hearts. You are the one ultimately responsible for acting on those advertisments.
If you want to find balance, then you must learn to curtail that siren song. Cut out certain things you do not need, even to the point it hurts. Maybe you use Spotify to listen to music that stirs you into a passionate frenzy – get rid of your subscription. Maybe you use Netflix to sterilize your boredom – “cut the cord” on that. The point is to realize what you do not need to live nobly and still find joy in life. Living modestly and within or below your means does not limit your happiness; rather, this simplicity opens up new avenues for joy and more choiceworthy goods.
3. Reflecting Often
As I mentioned in my piece about how to be a good man during quarantine, silence and reflection is an integral part of this process. It bears repeating for this issue of finding balance in your life as well. So many live their lives unexamined which chains them to their passions and the whims of materialism. If you truly want to find balance in your life, you need to realize just where exactly you are unbalanced and living a life of excess. There are ultimately no life hacks that can get you to a life in the “golden mean,” or rather, a life lived virtuously. Reflection is an integral part of prudence and prudence is the first of the virtues that you need to cultivate. By practicing a habit of reflection, you enable yourself to see what truly has meaning to you.
Without substantial changes in how you approach life and your values, you are going to fail to find balance in your life. Do you really desire to live on the fringes of a good existence because you cannot live moderately? No true man should.
Do not choose a life of overconsumption, quiet desperation and anxiety. Choose rather to find balance, cultivate virtue and live nobly starting today.