Sunday, 16 March 2014

A life of Compromise

We all want  a life of balance, balancing the difficult responsibilities of profession and personal, but invariably erring on both sides.
The term ‘compromise’ is open to many meanings and understandings.
 When we compromise in a relationship, the connotation is that we are prepared to sacrifice certain personal preferences in favour of maintaining good will with others. It may be regarding trivialities such as movie or restaurant preferences, or perhaps even more complex issues such as where to live. In this context ‘compromise’ is seen as the mature and positive road of action, where the ‘relationship’ takes precedence over personal likes and dislikes.
There are times where the term ‘compromise’ is used in the pejorative. It means to fold on certain issues, to sacrifice not your personal preferences, but rather your core values. You compromise who you are, often to satisfy superficial social and societal demands. We compromise our integrity for popularity, our core values for financial gain.
A life of balance is one of compromise- but which kind of compromise are we referring to?
We would prefer that it be the former, but perhaps it’s the later.
Throughout history we see our greatest leaders, entertainers, sportsmen often fall short in other areas of their life. On the other hand the best family men and women seldom make the headlines.
Even Nelson Mandela, by his own admission, failed as a father and a husband.

These cases are not ones of coincidence, but rather of design. 

Compromise in life necessitates that we accept the principle, that in order to reach our full potential in one area of life demands that we capitulate in another. Our professional success and impact cannot be coupled with communal leadership and parental excellence.

Something has to give.

I am not suggesting that you can’t be good at all of the above, rather that you can’t be YOUR best at all of them. Every hour at the office is an hour less at home and vice versa.
What is balance? It is accepting defeat in one area of life in order to maximise success in another.
Perfect balance is mediocrity and perhaps mediocrity is OK. But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that balance is the best of both worlds. It’s the acceptance of defeat.

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