A popular personal development exercise is to draw a pie chart that divides your life into six or eight or ten equal categories, assign yourself a rating on how fulfilled you are in each area, then keep a journal of your daily progress and ultimately approach enlightenment and balance.
I’ve done those exercises many times, and I believe they’re useful tools for reflection and awareness and growth.
But mostly on paper. Because despite our basic human need for unity and order and completeness, real life can’t be compartmentalized into a set of tidy little categories. No matter how much power and control we think we have by imposing clearly defined parameters on daily existence, life is just not that simple.
Instead, we learn not to fight it. We step into the vulnerability of breaking down barriers. And what we discover is, by allowing the overlap of all life aspects, there is an increase in opportunity flow. The combination of unrelated relationships and passions and endeavors and activities start to intermingle and create something new and exciting that never would have existed on its on.
Physicists call this phenomenon emergence, in which disparate things come alive when their elements are integrated into one another. It’s deeply liberating, not to mention, relaxing and satisfying. It makes life feel whole. Complete. Integrated. And when once we give ourselves permission to allow every part of our lives to become intertwined, we realize that we’re actually experiencing life instead of trying to manage it.
Here’s an example from my own experience. I’ve been writing songs for more than twenty years. It’s one of the most meaningful creative endeavors in my life. But music was always something I saved for myself. It was an escape. A way to hide from the world. Besides, the material was way too personal. Too bloody. To precious to be subjected to the cruel ear of the world.
And so, I committed to keeping my music to myself. Until one day, my wife encouraged me to finally make my songs available for public consumption. She said it was out of music hibernation, once and for all.
To my delight, that decision sent out ripples into every area of my life. I made new friends and reconnected with old friends and diversified my business and added new value to clients and created additional income streams and expanded my repertoire of meaning making activities.
All because I stopped compartmentalizing my life and started actually living it.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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