2 min read

Balance is Power

Hi Friends,

No life news to report this week. I continue the battle against entropy by focusing on maintaining a strong foundation: exercise, sleep, relationship, healthy eating. It's a rare week that all of these go perfectly, and this past week wasn't one of them. But the effort is still worth it. It makes a difference.

A strong foundation makes space for things like continued learning, improved life organization, hobbies, side hustle, etc.

It's only recently, like in the last year or two, that I realized the correct prioritization of these two kinds of activities. I guess I think of them as falling into the categories of "maintenance" and "self-actualization," respectively.

In college, the first time I was responsible for my own schedule, I eschewed basically all maintenance activities. I didn't exercise deliberately, I didn't eat well or with intention, I didn't sleep well because I was staying up late either coding or partying. My relationships were good, in that I had friends and a decent social life. That was mostly circumstantial.

During this time in my life I was obsessed with self-actualization. I had discovered computer programming at age 17, and immediately fell in love. The field was so wide, there was so much knowledge to soak up, so many skills and tools to learn, so much I could tinker with and build all from my laptop. It was intoxicating.

I went all out on learning as much as I could and writing as much code as possible. I just couldn't get enough. But it became the only thing in my life to a large extent. The balance was way off.[1]

This mindset and lifestyle lasted all the way through college, and for a couple years after. But after being out in the real world for a while, I realized there is more to life than cool software. It feels good to be in shape. It feels good to be well-rested. It feels good to have a relatively predictable schedule. A well-rounded life leads to a well-rounded mind.

And more than feeling good, all of those things are necessary if you want to accomplish big things. They're necessary if you want to grow to be capable of more. A strong foundation gives you time and space to think, to plan, to reflect, to improve.

I guess what I'm saying here is I finally feel like I'm hitting my stride in these foundational activities. I've been able to keep up my workout routine and other maintenance habits for a substantial period of time now. I've implemented systems that make this lifestyle sustainable. I've changed my mindset to view these habits as a source of leverage and power, rather than a distraction from more fulfilling activities.

As always, I'm excited to see what the future brings. Next week I'll write about the core system I've been using, to much success, to manage this more well-rounded life.

Stay safe and see you next week ❤️

[1] There were positive outcomes to spending my time this way. I did get really good at programming, which has led to a very successful career in software and as a result a strong financial foundation to pursue more ambitious goals.