Wise Wealth Advisors

D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Work-Life Balance: A different perspective

Posted by Muthu on August 15, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Yesterday I got a call from a journalist friend of mine who wanted me to do a live program today for a prominent TV channel regarding ‘Job opportunities in the Finance Sector’. I can talk about job opportunities in ‘Personal Finance’ and to some extent in ‘Financial Services’. Honestly I do not know what are the job opportunities available in the entire Finance sector. So I’ve to decline the offer.

Some time ago, the same channel has asked me to do a program on ‘Job opportunities in Real Estate’. Again, due to lack of sufficient knowledge, I let go the opportunity and the same was done later by the MD of Hanu Reddy Realty, who in my opinion is a more appropriate person for the topic.

Yesterday I made it a point to convey clearly, what I know and in what areas I would be able to do a program. I do not know if I would get a call for third time, having declined 2 opportunities. If it comes, it’s fine. If it doesn’t come also, it’s fine. So be it. It is better to say ‘No’ to the opportunities I mentioned above, instead of making a fool of myself, the viewers and wasting the time slot of the channel, which can be better utilized.

The programs I’ve done in another channel was able to strike a chord with audience, because it pertains to the area I know and passionate about.

Today morning, I got up very early as usual and was browsing the net.

We’ve some general views on Work-Life balance and I also believe that everyone should have that.

But HK Shivdasani  in DNA has looked at the Work-Life balance in a different perspective and I found it interesting, though I do not endorse whatever has been said, I definitely feel that there are some good take away from the article. I’m sharing the article below.

‘What is your ultimate goal in your life? To be successful and affluent? Just to be happy? To achieve a unique identity in society? Self-actualisation? Or, if you have already matured as a person of substance, to give back something to society? Or to follow the Hedonists and seek pleasure and nothing but pleasure as a goal of life?

Your answer to this question may be along the lines of, “Probably all these, though that’s quite impossible.” Yet my purpose here is to share with you a single formula that, I believe, can help a person realise all the above goals and more.

Let us begin with the most popular life goal, ie, success. One way to learn is by studying the lives and habits of successful people. Albert Einstein, for example, worked on the ideas that flashed in his mind at all times of day and night. So absorbed was he in his work that he sometimes asked his butler to serve him lunch, forgetting that he had finished it already.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar would practise for hours as a teenager, and she has continued to enjoy her mammoth practice sessions every single day of her life. Sachin Tendulkar, even as a school kid, loved batting practice, hitting balls against a wall well past midnight.

Think of Zakir Hussain, Bismillah Khan, Michael Jackson, or an Olympic winner of your choice. All these achievers have just one thing in common: they never had ‘working hours’. And that’s because they never ‘worked’. They enjoyed their work so much and remained so absorbed in it that no other activity was as much ‘fun’. They never knew or needed to practise ‘work-life balance’.

Advocates of work-life balance recommend that after college or office hours, we go to some club or park with friends for some recreation, but these people — such as Tendulkar absorbed in cricket — derived more pleasure in their ‘work’. In other words, they have had more ‘fun hours’ (read ‘work hours’) than most of us have work-plus-fun hours.

Why are we not so involved in our work? To understand this, imagine what could have happened if Tendulkar had gone for a career as a chartered accountant or Einstein as a lawyer. Or if Bismillah and Jackson had been forced to study engineering.

Well, that is what is happening with most of us. We fail to see a ‘fit’ between something inside us and the demands of the career or profession. The greater the scope in your work or profession to satisfy basic drives that can propel you over a lifetime, the greater will be your involvement in fulfilling them.

In common parlance we call it ‘passion’. You hear people saying someone is highly successful because his work is his ‘passion’. People whose needs are not adequately satisfied at work function just to meet their survival needs. To fulfil their core driving forces, they look for diversions and recreational activities suggested by work-life enthusiasts.

The names mentioned above could convey the misleading impression that we are talking of geniuses. But in today’s highly competitive world, excellence in work has become mandatory. We find thousands of young architects, doctors, fashion designers, and managers who made it to the pinnacle of their profession while in their 30s and 40s. They were successful thanks to their commitment and passion, not because they practised work-life balance.

Unfortunately, most people do not know what their driving forces are. It takes considerable time to identify the work areas that could become a passion for those who are dissatisfied. One way we find out is when they express pleasure in changing over to a suggested field and discuss strategies to change course mid-stream, as it were, age being no bar.

Should we slow down the march of civilisation, the benefits of which we are reaping — thanks to inventors like Thomas Alva Edison, who famously said it was 99% perspiration — by asking these geniuses to work limited hours?

Secondly, if all of us were to adopt this work-life balance model, and ‘worked’ for more or less the same hours and spent some hours with friends, family, and in relaxation, we would all end up as the same ‘standarised’ products from a factory, made using the same mould! But isn’t our world a wonderful place because of the diversity of people?

I had said I shall offer one formula to achieve all the different goals of life. We discussed success. But what about the happiness that so many seek?

Well, success and happiness go together. Is happiness different from doing something that is fun, gives you joy, and satisfies your needs? Happiness and success are the same side of the coin, and result from carrying out exactly the same activities.

What about a person of substance, who wants to give something back to society? You can only give what you have in abundance, and in the field in which you are a master — to give, you first must achieve a lot, through ceaseless pursuit of your passion.

And, finally, what about individuals whose ultimate aspiration is to achieve a unique identity in society, what you may call ‘self-actualisation’ or personal fulfilment? Carrying forward our logic, a unique identity is attained through social recognition, which comes from making an extraordinary contribution to one’s field.

Personal fulfilment is the outcome of attaining success, happiness and a unique social identity. Such a full realisation of potential is possible only when a person is driven by his own individual passion.

To sum up, the concept of work-life balance is seriously flawed. Selecting a career or profession that exploits or gratifies one’s unique driving forces is a far better route to success, happiness, personal fulfilment and a distinct identity in society than trying to follow some flawed notion of work-life balance.

Having a passion gives life a purpose. Many research findings have now proved that those who live with a purpose live longer (and healthier) than those living without a clear purpose or passion. So identity your passion and pursue it to live long and be happy.’

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