Apr 11

Strive For Balance In Your Life

Heinz Landau
Heinz Landau is a seasoned business leader who has gained valuable working and leadership experience on three different continents.

When I was recently sitting together with my ten year old son Jomar in the living room, both of us reading a book, after a moment of hesitation and consideration, I decided to do with him an exercise that I had just read about.

I asked him: “Imagine that you are 100 years old and on your death bed with one minute left to live. Your great-great-grandchild asks; “Before you die, tell me what I should do with my life?”

Before you read on, please think for just one minute what you would say.

Jomar stated three things:

1. Love people

2. Create (like family, home and a career)

3. Achieve (in making the above two intentions come true)

Considering his young age, I was astonished and impressed by his answers. Frankly speaking, I liked his own spontaneous reply even better than my own.

I took the exercise from the book “The Chimp Paradox – The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness” by Dr. Steve Peters. He explains: “Answering this question will identify what is important to you. It is what life is all about to you. It is your “Life Force”.

Whatever your advice was to your great-great-grandchild is really the advice to yourself. If you are not living by this advice, which is the essence of your existence, you are living a lie. Don’t live a lie; it will unsettle you more than anything else.”

When I attended a few years ago in Bangkok a workshop of Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive educators and coaches, he shared with us some findings of  a friend of his who had the opportunity to talk with old people who were facing death and to ask them what advice they would have had for themselves.

Three themes came up:

a) Be happy now.

Not next week, not next month, not next year. Don’t get so busy looking at the future that you forget the present. Don’t think “I will be happy when… I get that car, that promotion, that money etc.” Rather appreciate what you have already now.

b) Take care of your family and friends.

You might have an important job and making a significant contribution to your company. But be aware, when you are 95 years old, very few of your fellow employees will be waving goodbye. Your family and your friends will probably be the only people that care.

c) Go for your dreams.

If you follow your dreams, you can say at least at the end, “I tried!” instead of, “Why didn’t I at least try?” Older people who tried to achieve their dreams were happier with their lives.

In a blog on www.valuewalk.com on January 10, 2012, the top five regrets people state on their deathbed were listed. A nurse who had worked for many years in palliative care and had spent the last three to twelve weeks of the patients’ lives with them identified five recurring themes:

1. I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

You can easily see the similarities between the experiences of the nurse and the findings that Goldsmith shared with us. And you must have also noticed the absence of talk about money which is a confirmation that money is obviously not the most important thing in life.

You can easily see the similarities between the experiences of the nurse and the findings that Goldsmith shared with us. And you must have also noticed the absence of talk about money which is a confirmation that money is obviously not the most important thing in life.

Some of you might have heard about the famous 30 seconds speech of the former CEO of Coca Cola, Brian Dyson. It is this great advice that he gave to all of us:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you are keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

And, last but not least, let me share with you some Asian wisdom by the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is one of my favourite quotations:

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 at 03:37 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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  2. Alvian says:

    Ok, so you translate into English and I’ll help add the fisnsee into your writing, and I get to learn Chinese. Sounds like a good deal for me (as I’ll have little “work” to do), so yes, you have a deal. :-)

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