Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

This is the Audi R8; it’s a highly efficient and compelling car; its engine produces an astonishing 199 kW at 6,500 rpm, and a torque of 330 Nm at 4000 rpm. Now part of the reason that it’s so efficient, and part of what makes us human beings comparatively inefficient, is that this car has only one goal, and that goal is exceptionally clear: it has to go very fast down tarmac roads. As a general principle, no machine can be optimally efficient at more than one thing. A robot that has to both climb stairs, and make pancakes will be far less efficient than two distinct machines, each of which can focus exclusively on a single task. The more limited the goals, the higher once chances efficiency. Now, unlike the Audi sports car, our brains are not designed or evolved to be maximally efficient at any one thing. This amazing cognitive and emotional machine is a profound generalist it comes moderately well equipped for a huge range of possible activities: to write a novel, spearfish, bring up a child, drive very fast Fifth Avenue, sit in a high-rise office writing reports, lie in a hut in New Guinea, marry, plot an assassination, live in an ice cave, go into politics, stay single, or expand a small business into the Asia market. Now the price we pay for being generalists is that we’ll be less good at any one of the many activities we perform than someone who did only one thing their whole life long. We might not be the very best at inflating party balloons, the house will be a bit dirty, we might be a bit late for the meeting, we’ll not be perfect, patient, and interesting dinner companions, we’ll mess up the public presentation again, someone will probably be better and we are at helping a child to paint. This might be quite depressing moments, perhaps late at night as we look back across the day, but before we get too sad, we should realize that our less than completely optimal performance is down to one very understandable thing: that we’ve chosen and breadth and variety over total focus and narrow perfection, and that’s a very wise choice. Focusing on one thing to the exclusion all others has its costs as anyone who’s ever spoken to an athlete who trains 10 hours a day tends to find out. There’s a cost to being the human equivalent to the sports car. Unfortunately, our society has set up an absurd idea: that it will be possible to do many things and do them all completely well. That’s why we hear so much talk about an elusive thing called: “work-life balance”. Perfectly optimal career and a perfectly optimal home life. This is a mad idea! Work-life balance is impossible because everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. We’re not going to be a once the ideal domestic chef, child carer, and CEO. If we’re strung out across multiple roles, all will suffer, but that’s okay. That you’re doing too much and none of it without mistakes isn’t a sign that your life is gone wrong, it’s a sign of a very wise and understandable position: that you’ve opted for imperfect variety over flawless focus.

100 thoughts on “Work-Life Balance”

  1. I love this channel, whoever does the voiceover has the smoothest voice in the world. I don't find the content nor uplifting, nor depressing, just gives me something to think about before going to sleep (perhaps explains the insomnia).

  2. Just wondering whether focus must always be 'flawless'? Or could we have a notion of a flawed focus which still remains focus.

  3. I find this mindset disturbing. If people didn't set out for flawless focus my tapping on this keypad wouldn't make it visible to whoever is reading this right now. Yeah, it's nice to be a rounded individual but if you really want to be the best at something you need to commit and sacrifice. This is something definitely lacking in modern western society

  4. a well researched, well written piece of philosophy presented in an easily digestible way can truly improve someone's day by a million percent

  5. I feel like this comes into conflict with your video on the perfect society. If work-life balance is impossible, then how is the perfect society anything more than a pipe dream?
    Put another way, to me, this video comes off as oddly pessimistic.

  6. do your hours for the day and follow the workplace politics and manners but when u get home BE YOURSELF. its fucking okay to cuss IF that's ur thing. it's OK to do what the fuck u want at home. being at work requires a fucking mask and sometimes it slips off everyone of us but it is what it is. PLAY YOUR ROLE AND COLLECT THE DOUGH.

  7. i think the idea of work life balance is there because even if we do not reach the ideal balance between work and life we can strive towards achieving that goal which is the challange of life

  8. Dear School of Life media group,
    I am very fond of your content but can't help but wonder why you hold your fans/customers in such esteem to have to disrupt their vision constantly with less than appropiate annotations. I think most people find it very upsetting and disruptive, for starters I do. Hopefully with a mature approach between marketing/advertisement and the viewers, both parts could benefit from it.

  9. I like doing a lot of things but do to work i dont have a lot of do them or to strenghten them,
    if only i didng have to worry about money and had all the time in the world to do a lot of things extensively.
    Practice makes perfect, but there are so many things to do, its true one cant be everything in life,
    so choose what you love to do the most, mix it up, try new & different things

  10. Very interesting take on this! I recently uploaded a video addressing the "work-life balance" struggle that many people face. I'd love to see what you think! 🙂

  11. It's impossible to do two things at the same time with optimum efficiency. For example try staying single and getting married at the same time 🙂

  12. this video is incredibly absurd. Life balance doesn't mean you have to ACHIEVE each area of your life like a sports car. It simply means you need to DO different things in your life and enjoy them, progressively growing in each one of them, if you wish so. Its not about being good at EVERYTHING. But cultivating all different areas of our life that are NECESSARY & VITAL for staying on track. Family, friends, hobbies etc. This video didn't get a thing about Life Balance. #wasteOfTime

  13. Thanks School of life..even if i am 59 and when i have time i like to read….you enlighten my brain …!!! I buy some of your books and i suggest the others which like me r grateful at you to do the same…..

  14. This is why the division of labor makes great sense. You can see that then more developed the society becomes over the time span then more differentiated it is in the terms of the labor.

  15. Oh man, I love this. You speak from my heart. I purposedly am working towards the goal to be "a jack of all trades, master of none". It´s a path which is not praised and watched by millions but it´s soooo fulfilling one I can´t even describe it 🙂 But I can enjoy playing the piano, writing my book, doing massages, cooking and doing DIY stuff, among others 🙂

  16. Does this change if the desire for flawless focus comes from one self, and not from society? Some people are more nerdy experts of their field, and seem to really thrive with it. Asking an athlete what it took to get where he/she is, and disagreeing with not answer, does make it the wrong answer for them necessarily does it?

  17. plot an assassination. second video where assassination is brought up. I think I know what the creators of this channel want to be doing

  18. Thanks, The School Of Life for providing such an insightful knowledge about the work-life balance. It is really satisfying to know that it is impossible to have work-life balance

  19. I've limited my life aspects to work and education. Now I'm losing my friend. However, I really enjoy the current situation. Maybe it sounds a good recipe to become alone but actually, it's paving my way to make new and more appropriate friends. Perhaps it'd better to not to focus on everything and let some things go on there own natural way 🙂

  20. Work-life balance also misses the point. A truly fulfilling and meaningful life comes from seeking and obeying God's will for your life. That's where the better life balance comes from.

  21. 0:30 'As a general principle, no machine can be optimally efficient at more than thing.'
    This is a really bad statement which can be easily disproved. Machines will be only as efficient as they are programmed to be, including multi-tasking. Come on Alain, I know you were trying to prove a point, but this was a bad simile.

  22. There are some times in life that you have to be OFF BALANCE ON PURPOSE! However, anything that you are intentional about can be accomplished. Being balanced does not mean that you are PERFECT! It is simply doing what works best for you and your household. I share videos on my channel regarding Balancing it ALL! Thank you!

  23. It seems to me that this video is incomplete, though. Remember there is an optimal range (sweet spot) between absolute perfection in one task and worthless in everything. It also depends on what is every person's goal.

  24. It is a very interesting video and I fully agree that opting for breadth and variety of social roles / passions / activities in life can bring more fulfilment. Nonetheless, in terms of professional development and career paths – isn't it better to opt for this "flawless focus" at single area of interest? This is, after all, the idea of professionalisation and being a specialist in something. Society needs specialists in various areas and the labour market composed of individuals who would know where they want to direct their energy and ambitions, career-wise, would be simply more optimal and better-performing. It is actually an argument brought by School of Life in another video.

  25. Waching this video changed my mind to life. And I really decided to correct my life and work balance. I think it is necessary.

  26. Доброго времени суток , я думаю , что под таким роликом должны оказатся рассудительные люди , так вот , я прошу дать совет или лучше несколко советов из которых я смогу выбрать , и так : я хочу пока молод заработать на квартиру машину и так далее , но буквально после достежения этого результата (даже не в лучшем его проявлении ) я хочу жить просто жизнью , без рабского труда и так далее , и вот вопрос как это объяснить жене если она совсем не понимает меня

  27. I would even say that people who choose variety and novelty live the most balanced life. Because people who focus on only one thing miss so much, even though they are perfect in their activity. On the other hand if people are busy with too many different activities, they won't have any purpose in life and won't be good at anything. So, everything we do must be balanced and I think we should not fall into one of the two extremes.

  28. I love what Lisa Nichols says about this…instead of focusing on work/life "balance" to focus on HARMONY instead. And I find if I'm focusing on meeting NEEDS versus trying to do it all, I experience that harmony, even when things are "out of balance" now and again.

  29. Couldn't keep watching without commenting about how validating this was to absorb. I've been coming to the same conclusions in this video all on my own and I felt kinda crazy and isolated until this. Ugh. I feel so relieved. And I feel so vindicated as a Specialized Generalist.

  30. this state of things makes me want to die in my sleep as soon as possible … life is so exausting, same things day after day, being more and more lonely…and we "western people" are even luckier than most of the other people in the world (poor Africa, Latin America, Asia =( )… God help this terrible society ;(

  31. If companies follow labor laws and don't operate under staff, value people than money. When all you bloody fucking capitalists die. Only then work life balance is possible.

  32. plot an assassination?? dark humor right there

    but thanks The School of life, I agree that if you really want one thing to be very fruitful, you really have to sacrifice other things in order for you to have undivided attention. Exhaustion is just around the corner if you think you can always juggle everything and expect things will always go smoothly.

  33. To be honest, I think they have totally misinterpreted the definition of work-life balance. The clue's in the name- balance. It does not claim that they are both done to perfection, but that they are balanced out, rather than focusing too much on one or the other. So in fact, I think this video is or should be saying that work and life can be balanced, but not by choosing to focus on one or the other, but by accepting that having both to some degree will inevitably result in not having either to optimal standard.

  34. All I can get to this video is that if you wanna be good at something or be less stressed just focus on one thing and thats really helpful to me

  35. There is no perfect work life balance because life is unpredictable and imperfect. I agree with all of this. Just made my own video about working hard and balance. This one is great 🙌💪👊

  36. Thank you. Going into my exam week at uni I was beside myself, my housework and family life was taking the back seat while I studied. I didn't realise the effect it was taking on myself until I fell asleep when putting the kids to bed a few nights in a row instead of completing university work which I was hoping to do 😅

  37. What an amazing way of putting this. I myself have realized that the more I focus on my job, the more my home life suffers, and vice versa. Thanks for keeping this brief, it really helped me realize how things are going right now in my life. It doesn't really provide a solution, but it does make me look at it differently.

  38. A great video and explanation #TheSchoolOfLife I work for myself, and from home most of the time, so I don't have anyone else to distract me but I require a lot of self discipline to concentrate and stay focused to avoid procrastination. I achieve this by writing a list of things I need to accomplish the next day, before I go to bed (advice I received this from #JonnyBradley videos). Thanks The School of Life.

  39. That shit sounded horrible at the end, but it sold well 🤣 it's okay to be less then because you are doing a lot. Perfectly okay to stretch yourself to the max with multitasking lol

  40. The world is so unfair that I attempted suicide and even I failed at that, at least I was able to get disability because of it, and it's still not enough to survive, but at least it's better than being stuck working for 8 hours in a miserable job.

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