Work life balance? Know the trade off’s….

September 27, 2013

What’s the mystery. Sorry lah, no Da Vinci code there. Not to me at least. Coming to think of it – it would probably take me half a second to plumb for work life balance. Rather than to buy into the heart attack cum high blood pressure inducing lifestyle of work, work and only work. For what?

After all work is merely a means to an end. Surely the vapid goal to be more competitive (Cui bono?) can’t possibly take precedence over the raison why we have been put on this planet in this timeline- surely the goal has to be:

Every man must aspire to live life under his own terms.

If that is not the goal – then what is the goal of life itself? Is to nourish human suffering? Or to serve as mere tools to further the grand designs of others.

My point is it pays to press the pause button and stand back and ask ourselves what do we really want out of life? How much of ourselves are we prepared to put into the whole idea of work? At what point do we start to hold back?

Ants can’t do this. They don’t have the presence of mind to make those sort of calculations. That’s why they have no choice but to settle for just the daily grind of existence. Fortunately we humans can – and even choose to consciously slow down and go vote to live instead of just exist.

Surely there is more to life than just chasing abstract metrics like GDP. It’s a no brainer.

Like I said, there is no mystery to it…it’s as clear as day. The choice to live that is. And anyone who tells you different. Just hasn’t lived before and that’s the truth and nothing but the truth.


“I agree completely with mini Lee. If possible, we should all read and experience life as broadly as possible. That’s why you should make it a point to visit really successfully communities like Munich, Paris and New York and see first hand how people over there live, work and play.

Why don’t you go to Munich and see for yourself whether the shops are open on Sundays and public holidays. Please go and take a first hand look for yourself – or for that matter visit France during the school holidays and see for yourself how Parisians spend quality time with their families.

I think if you take the trouble to do just that – then you will probably come to the realization, one reason why these communities are able to sustain their vibrancy, élan and panache from generation to generation is simply because the people have got their priorities right – and once you have the fundamentals right – right living can only follow along with all the goodies – that’s to say life becomes truly enjoyable where work is merely a means to an end. And it should never be confused as an end by itself.

Having said that, I happen to believe very strongly, leaders will always play a key role in articulating this whole idea of work life balance. You could even say they are jugular as they are very much figures of authority – so how they work, live and play really sets the cadence of work, life and play for the rest of us.

Now if you are unlucky to work with a fucked up leader who doesn’t have the wisdom, effectiveness and discipline to wrap his work up by five and head straight for home. Then how do you expect others to do the same? By what manner of means do you even give others the permission to do the same?

Do you see what I mean by setting good examples. To me, a leaders measure of his commitment to work life balance is evidenced through his own life – if a leader says one thing and does another, then these leaders have simply not fully internalized the essence of the whole idea of work life balance – they may say they want work life balance, but since they are so disorganized, sloppy and cinchai in the way they work, they never seem to rest when it’s time to rest or even play when it’s time to play – their life is just one perpetual grind. And if you are unfortunate enough to be led by such a good for nothing leader, then my advice to you is to load up on your personal insurance and don’t forget to take garlic pills daily. Because grief is definitely heading your way. I call these these highly fucked up people toxic leaders – as what they say and what they do just doesn’t gel at all – and they make the worst role models – wonder no more why so many people don’t take them seriously. As for the real and not bull shit high performers – they will never work for those sort of leaders. Never.

As for the wise leader he knows intuitively that to get the best out of his team – he needs to mindful that the goal in life is to make possible the idea that a worker can live his life according to his own terms – so he never pushes his men to exhaustion. Or do stupid things like expect them to stay beyond office hours. Besides it’s bad for moral and what you are really doing in the long term is sowing the seeds for the wrong type of work culture to support high performance – hence, this whole idea of putting spurs into people is really a very primitive way to solicit high performance – I don’t doubt, in the short term, you may get stellar results. But since its fundamentally unsustainable – it’s not only a lousy strategy. But if you happen to have people who stay in those sort of corrosive working climate, they probably dont have much a choice – in which case, they are hardly high performers.Besides if the pace of work is so fast that it doesn’t respect what’s valuable and important to the average worker or becomes so pervasive that it even takes away opportunities for workers to believe in the idea – work is merely a means to an end – then at some point work will simply be a chore instead of something edifying and stimulating – keep the pace up and at some point so many will simply get so disillusioned that they may even be turned off completely by the whole idea of work.

That’s why when leaders tell me – they work 16 hours a day. I know these are fucked up people who will probably go nowhere in life except perhaps in big and large circles. But when I see a leader who seems to be playing golf all the time and spending his free time taking his kids fly fishing – then I know, I am dealing with someone who has got his act (life) right down to a science – such a man is not a man to be taken lightly. And you would do well to cultivate his company. As there is so much to learn from him.

Think about. Like I always said, there is no mystery here… da Vinci code either. Its just plain common sense. As always, I give you the facts. You decide for yourself.”

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