In Hebrew, the word “Adam” can be translated to “remember”. If you know much about the Old Testament and the relationship between God and the Jews, you understand the importance of this.
Humans are forgetful.
Over the past 12 years, I have fallen apart twice. I'm talking straight broken pieces everywhere. Panic attacks, insomnia, worry, heart palpitations, dizzy spells, intestinal issues, just to name a few.
I have a way of forgetting what behaviors keeps me successful. And shockingly, I know exactly what they are, I know how to perform them, and I even know when I'm not doing them.
It looks something like this: Life is good, I'm happy and my relationships and work life are balanced and healthy. I have behavioral boundaries in place and life success is high.
But then I cross the line. I forget the promises which kept me on the path of successful living. I'm fooled by the pursuit of more.
I begin to believe I can have everything, without giving up anything.
Then life begins to spiral. My rhythm is lost and everything starts shifting. I'm going to bed late, I'm ignoring my wife, I'm forgetting to pray, I'm eating poorly, and I'm drinking beer at night just to relax.
Then like a thief in the night, the mayhem sets in. A list of physical and emotional consequences as a result of my lack of personal discipline. And the illusion of “having it all” unveils its nasty truth.
Smack! I hit the floor. Pain, brokenness, and a wounded heart. This stark slap in the face quickly reminds me of my forgotten boundaries and I'm forced to either restore my once sustaining promises, or live life in this new pain. It looks something like this.
The cost? About one year of low-level productivity, damaged relationships and over a 1000 hours of lost time.
Interestingly, I find this true for most fanatically driven people. Their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. Our extreme passion can both change the world and ruin our lives. It can build great companies and destroy great relationships. It can produce incredible art or writing or products and it can also steal our ability to create.
And then there's the wisdom.
We can only do so much in the time we have. In our pursuit of more we often confuse bigger with better. But true success is discipline and consistency. The ability to place a process between opportunity and decision. To recognize that the things we are most passionate about need limits as well.
It's been 3 years since my last fall. I attribute this to my willingness to look at the root of my issue. I'm an extremist. I let my passions bleed over the edges of my life until it drowns everything else. And without firm personal promises and boundaries, I fall into unhealthy life patterns.
Passionate people require these unshakable promises. It's a form of insurance for their life. It's these vows that are the formula for a sustainable future, family and the ability to achieve even more. This is the secret for true success.
Below, I have outlined the four promises for my life balance in hopes to help you define yours.
Approximate Number of Hours Per Week: 4-7 hours
Connecting with God reminds me my work has purpose. It's these important moments of daily prayer and reading which provide me a foundation of confidence and wisdom. Without these important hours, I begin to lose perspective and believe that life is less about a larger purpose and more about me and my personal desires.
Approximate Number of Hours Per Week: 21-30 hours
I often think of the quotes of people on their death bed. Nobody ever wishes they worked more. Rather, it's a regret of not spending more time with loved ones. When I put my family before my work, it reminds me where true satisfaction is born. Success without family and the connection with the people you love is lonely, selfish, and unfulfilling.
Approximate Number of Hours Per Week: 4-8 hours
Without our health, we are nothing. Sadly in our pursuit of success, exercise and healthy eating fall to the wayside. For me, I've made small commitments in this department to keep my body productive. I've committed to walking 5-7 miles per week, juicing vegetables for 10 meals per month, and stretching for 5 minutes each morning. While these small vows will never develop me into a performance athlete, they give me the endurance to focus on my dreams.
Approximate Number of Hours Per Week: 10-21 hours
My Grandmother once told me, “don't get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” The problem for passionate people occurs when their passion is their living. Work becomes fun and everything else makes its way to the backdrop of life. By building freedom into my routine, it offers me the creative break I need to perform at my peak. It allows margin in my life to gain perspective and it also helps me achieve my other three promises.
What promises or vows or boundaries keep you successful? How often do you forget them? What happens? Let me know in the comments below.Awesome photography by Lightstock.