There is so much advice out there about how to develop yourself that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and come to think it’s easier not to change.
Far from being motivated, too much advice has the effect of paralysing you, and you may well end up doing nothing.
I read a lot of books, about personal development, spirituality, science, business, entrepreneurship, writing. And I always hold one value in mind when I am absorbing new information, which is to strive for balance in everything I do.
Balance in what I eat
For example, I want to eat healthily so I try to eat more vegetables, less meat and processed foods, limit sugar, and all that.
But, if I go towards the extreme of eating healthily, I end up becoming rigid and joyless, unable to enjoy a treat because I’ve labelled all foods that aren’t healthy as ‘bad’.
To find a balance, I would also make sure I allow myself to enjoy crisps, or some cake, a fizzy drink or whatever. But if all I’m eating is chips and nuggets, I’m going too far the other way towards eating junk food and not looking after myself.
All things in life have a balance between opposites at their heart, conceptually speaking.
Truth in opposites
This is because all truth resides in reconciling opposites, just like demonstrating great power is a positive trait in a leader but must be combined with humility and vulnerability, to avoid sliding over into tyranny.
The strong and the weak are one, because at the heart of weakness lies strength’s greatest power. At the heart of strength lies weakness: a fear of vulnerability.
So when I’m freelancing, I strive to learn and grow, building my confidence and my experience in order to grow stronger.
But I consciously allow myself to be weak, not to beat myself up for feeling scared or stupid, and even openly admitting my insecurities to others, to keep myself in balance.
Always striving to find a balance in everything you do means you can never go on to autopilot, because momentum means that we’re constantly prone to swinging to extremes.
Once you’re moving in a certain direction, it’s far easier to keep moving than it ever was to just get started in the first place.
So when you’re moving through life, and you’re considering yet another piece of advice from another guru, claiming the next quick-fix to help you improve your life, consider whether it will help you achieve balance or not.
Over time, you will instinctively keep adjusting your path. And that’s not to say that you will never find yourself losing your balance or swinging to another extreme. Rather, it means finding balance will start coming more and more naturally to you, and it will become easier and easier to keep finding the right path again.
Catherine Heath is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, yoga, meditation and being in nature.