My friend Sharon from Clarity for the Boss referred me to a Fast Company article entitled: “This is Generation Flux: Meet the Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier of Business”
Although the article was written almost a year ago, I hadn’t read it, although I was familiar with the concept of flux: a term defining a psychographic, coined by Robert Safian, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company, in which he described flux as “a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions–educational, corporate, political–are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.”
In essence, it’s about embracing chaos, or in my own terms…imbalance.
I’ve long been a proponent of embracing imbalance, and I reject the idea that life should be balanced, or that there’s such a thing as work-life balance.
Life’s a roller-coaster, not a merry-go-round.
Picture it this way.
Imagine that I have several drinking glasses, all filled with liquid to the identical level, sitting on a table. They are balanced. There is no movement. Nothing is happening.
Now picture me picking up one of the glasses and pouring some of the liquid in that one into another glass, representing having to work late.
The fuller glass now gets emptied into another glass signifying home life, which needs to be topped up due to the long hours spent at work.
Then the home life glass pours into the physical exercise glass, which has been sorely neglected…and so on and so on.
At no time do the levels in the glasses, or in fact life, stay balanced.
And don’t even get me started on the “more balanced” terminology. Like, I want my life to be “more balanced”. But when I ask someone to identify exactly and clearly what that means, I’m usually met with a “well, you know what I mean…more balanced.”
But life isn’t balanced. It’s a big hot mess. It’s chaotic. It’s always in flux.
The key is to recognize and accept this, because striving for balance is like trying to push a string uphill with your nose.
I started to count the number of times I read the word ‘balance’ in a recent magazine. I stopped at 150. One hundred and fifty times throughout the magazine were phrases like “I like to balance things” or “I want more balance” or “I’m balancing life and work”. But not once was there a clear definition, description or picture of what that meant.
Balance has become what I call a plastic word: something that means everything and nothing.
If I ask you to picture what balance looks like in your mind…work with me here. Close your eyes and picture ‘balance’. What does it look like? Anything like this?
Balance is stasis. Balance is inertia.
We’re meant to be jugglers, not statues, in business and in life.
And although the phrase “flux generation” as applied to a psychographic is fairly newly coined, as the article in Fast Company states:
“More than 150 years ago, Charles Darwin foreshadowed this era in his description of natural selection: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives; nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
And isn’t change, adaptability, flexibility and…in my terms, embracing imbalance what life’s all about?
In the coming weeks I’ll be focusing on the topic of my upcoming book (working title: Balance is B.S.), and sharing how by smashing the ideal of ‘balance’ we can lessen our stress, heighten our productivity and stop chasing after something that can’t be caught.
Embrace Imbalance. Find freedom in flux.
Coming soon: tips on how to embrace imbalance and find freedom in flux, for a happier life and a more successful business