What kind of response do you get from within you when you think of work-life balance? Does it invoke the image of a proverbial “see-saw”? When one goes up, the other goes down. But the world pushes for “balance” of these two very very important aspects of life! Maintaining “equilibrium” is difficult and it can get exhausting to keep jumping between the two, always playing catch up, trying to get the best of both the worlds but somehow, always feeling like you’re falling short?
What if improving in one area of life enhances the other, naturally and automatically, by design?
We’ve been conditioned to believe that it is important to keep work and life separate. But these are not mutually-independent instances and more often than not, the two roles would coincide. Having a good day at work improves the quality of engagement we have back at home and vice versa.
Merely pursuing work-life balance is a limiting approach that may restrict you from exploring further opportunities for personal or professional growth for the sake of maintaining a balance. You don’t have to focus on work at the cost of losing out on life opportunities or vice-versa. But instead growing in one, it has to help you grow in the other automatically.
The harmony of whole-life integration
Is it possible that your brilliance in one area of life flows into another? Yes! It’s possible, and one can engineer the free flow of the strengths of one area to flow into another. The key to this is to be in an accelerated learning state. You have access to superior states of mind, in those moments when you are naturally flowing and everything feels easy and natural.
While you have certainly developed core competencies in some contexts, you may be stuck at others. A person who is confident managing a 1,000 employees may find himself nervous while going up on stage to address an audience! On the contrary, whole-life integration enhances your repertoire to respond to a challenging situation by utilising all the skills, core competencies, creativity, and superior states of mind that you already have access to in other contexts on demand.
This is where “cross-mapping” comes in, an elegant function of human neurology that takes the learnings in a particular context and integrates it in other areas where we might be struggling.
An artist who does not explore skills and boundaries beyond their art form and the logical geek who does not explore any art form are both in the same boat.
There are some soulful artists who can condense the sound of waves or winds into a beautiful melody or painting and would struggle to make real connections with others in their ecosystem. Alternatively, there are some marketing guys who could have access to a formidable network but would struggle to come up with creative new business development ideas. While these individuals are ‘specialists’ in a particular walk of life, their rarity is not yet complete.
Helping the artist master the art and skill of making long-lasting connections with others in their ecosystem would complete their rarity. Similarly, helping the marketing guy take up creative pursuits, perhaps immerse in creating any form of art, would accelerate his process of coming up with new and innovative ideas at work.
This is a clear example of cross-mapping, where you make progress in one context and solves your bottleneck in a different context. Promising individuals who are regarded as geniuses in their field already have a knack for intuitive cross-mapping, resulting in a well-integrated life.
This phenomenon of leveraging what you develop in one area to enhance other areas of your life is called whole life integration, which is better than the work-life balance model. The best thing is that this is a natural process and most geniuses leverage it to accelerate their success.
Geniuses harness whole-life integration to accelerate success
Geniuses in various fields have demonstrated an innate capability of cross-mapping leading to their trailblazing success. Issac Newton, for instance, was not only a top-notch physicist, but he was also a renowned sculptor. Steve Jobs was not just good at business, he was exceptional at art, specifically typography. In fact, he is the reason why the fonts on any computer look as beautiful as they do now.
The most counterintuitive quality about geniuses is that geniuses are not super-experts in spite of mastering such diverse things, they are super experts because they learned and mastered so many diverse things.
Simple tweak to move in the direction of whole life integration
Well, simply breaking free from the limiting boxes and labels we have been exposed to and opening up to the possibility and realisation that you have many different personalities, strengths in different contexts. Most people like to put themselves in boxes and label themselves as either “logical” or “creative”, “introvert” and “extrovert”.
There is a reason most outstanding scientists grew up pursuing and mastering some form of art. Like how Einstein was a soulful violinist and a legendary scientist. The neurology doesn’t demarcate or create boxes around what we learn. Everything cross feeds into each other. When whole-life integration becomes your way of living, you come up with unique solutions and glide through life’s challenges without struggling.
So, why fight the natural way in which neurology functions by trying to balance the scales or that proverbial see-saw of life? Instead, let’s build a strong, integrated approach to life that automatically facilitates personal excellence, reverberating through all aspects of life.
(As told to Preethi Sankkari)