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How to Find the Missing Component of Your Life Balance

Posted Jun 16 2010 8:20am

This post was written by Anastasiya . Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!

How do you know when your life is in balance? It is a difficult question but my guess is that when you are happy you are most balanced. We all want to be happy after all. Isn’t it the main reason why we spend so much time reading personal development blogs? :-)

You can reword the title of this post into “How to find the missing component of your happiness.”
I want to show you a simple technique that will help you identify which areas of your life are already in balance (and that make you happy) and which ones can still be improved.

Please ask yourself a question “What is my life?” Can you answer it with just one sentence and capture the full meaning and essence of your life? I can’t because my life has too many twists and turns and different colors and shapes… My guess is that yours is the same way. This is the reason why it is so difficult to find the components that will make you happy and balanced.

Let’s forget about our lives for a second and think about a football coach. What is his main goal? To win a football game of course. Is there one fool-proof strategy that will guarantee the victory of the team? Of course no.

Every coach must study his team and know its positives and negatives. When he knows those positives and negatives he can find a way to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. For example if a team has a weak defense then the coach’s strategy might be to control the ball and keep defense off the field. If the team has a bad offense but a good kicker then his strategy might be to get as many field goals as possible.

Your life also has its positives and negatives. Your happiness strategy should allow you to take the maximum advantage of the positive factors while diminishing or eliminating the negative ones.

I want to show you a technique called Tug-of-War that I have found in the book Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko .


  1. Goal: Live a happy and balanced life.
  2. Best case scenario: you are happy.
    Worst case scenario: you are sad and unhappy.
  3. Your factors: you need to write down all the factors that can influence your satisfaction with life. You can focus on the following areas:
    • Family
    • Health
    • Friends and social communication
    • Career
    • Hobbies, interests, passions
    • Money
    • Emotional and spiritual balance

    You can add as many factors as you want as long as you feel that they can affect your quality of life.

  4. Tug-of-war. Note which of the factors listed above are pulling you towards happiness and life balance and which ones are drawing you towards dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

In the image below you can see the example of my Life Balance Tug-of War. Factors pulling me towards happiness and balance are: happy marriage, good health, positive energy that I get from my kids, working on exciting projects, living in a perfect location for me. The factors that are pulling me away are: my close friends and family are far away, not enough quiet time for work, not enough time for exercise.

(Click on the image to open it as a pdf.)
life balance tugofwar

In order to move your (and my) life towards a more balanced and happy state we can use the following scenarios:

  1. Maximize positives.
  2. Minimize negatives.
  3. Add more positives.

I hope that by this time you already have your tug-of-war table ready and handy. Now you know what components your life balance is missing and we can concentrate on improving your happiness level.

Improve your life balance and happiness

  1. Focus on the strong points. Be grateful and appreciative of what you have in life. Try to get as much positive energy as possible from your strong points (spend more quality time with your partner, devote more time to your hobbies and kids etc.)
  2. Minimize negative points. It is helpful to reframe each of those negative points into a challenge and look for possible solutions. Here is my example In what way can I spend more time with my family and friends?

    • plan a vacation to visit my family
    • communicate with my friends and family on Skype
    • make new friends

    In what way can I get more quiet time for work?

    • hire a babysitter to stay with the kids a few times a week
    • get up earlier or go to bed later
    • maximize my productivity: turn off the cell-phone, sign out of chat and social media, check email only when my project is finished
    • find an inspiring place where I can get more done in less time

    How can I get more time for exercise?

  3. Add more positive forces: adding more to your lifestyle might be too overwhelming but it is still an option. If you have free time then you can try new hobbies. You can get a pet (dogs and cats have proved to lower the stress levels of their owners) or think about changing your career.

This is it. It is a simple plan that will help you find the missing components of your life balance. I encourage you to do this exercise right away (if you procrastinate then you will never get it done and you will miss out on the opportunity to greatly improve your life.) If you have trouble minimizing negative factors in your life, please share them in the comments below and I’ll be glad to help.

Please let me know how this exercise worked for you. I am looking forward to your feedback.

Keep it balanced!

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