Personal Growth

Video Challenge – Day 14: The Conclusion

(If you can’t see the video, click through to the post, or check out the YouTube video)

This video brings us to the end of the Video Challenge!

It’s been a great experience, and I’ll continue to be doing video on this blog.

The people I thanked in the video are:

And, of course, you fine people for watching the videos and giving me feedback! 😀

I noticed many, many things I need to work on to make the videos more entertaining and useful.

Some of them are:

  • Use more facial expressions… Make that, any facial expression! 😛
  • Improve tone (I’m too monotonous at the moment)
  • Add more humor (I tend to freeze up in front of the camera)
  • Include video effects
  • Prepare more for the videos

If you have any comments to share, please feel free to share them in the comments section! 😀

Oh, and in case you were wondering why I was posing in the beginning of the video, you can check out my Twitter profile pic here: @haideralmosawi, and feel free to follow me if you’re not following me already. And don’t forget to say hi. 😉

You can visit all the previous video using the links below:

Day 1: Introduction

Day 2: The Self & The Self-Image

Day 3: Labels & Anti-Labels

Day 4: The Role of Self-Talk

Day 5: Negatively Positive

Day 6: The Success Triangle

Day 7: The Observer Effect

Day 8: Degrees Of Success

Day 9: Your Thoughts On Life Balance

Day 10: Tunnel-Vision vs Funnel-Vision

Day 11: The Meanings of Life Balance

Day 12: Why Life Balance Is Difficult

Day 13: The Maximum Way


Video Challenge – Day 13: The Maximum Way

(If you can’t see the video, click through to the post, or check out the YouTube video)

OK, so this Video Challenge wasn’t conducted during consecutive days, but at least I’m getting the hang of video! 🙂

Today’s video looks at how life balance doesn’t involve compromise, but aiming for The Maximum Way.

So what’s The Maximum Way? Watch the video to find out!

Tomorrow I’ll be shooting my final video in the challenge, and will explain what I’ll be doing after the challenge is done.

As always, if you have any comments or complaints, feel free to voice them in the comments section. 🙂


Guilt-Free Play

In theory, recreational activities are meant to bring joy, but rarely do so in practice.

Instead, we are filled with guilt whenever we take time off, and end up stressing and worrying more than relaxing.

If play isn’t fun, then it’s not serving us in the way that it should. So why do we feel so guilty when we try to have some fun?

The Workaholic Mind

As much as we hate to admit it, having fun seems like an irresponsible thing to do. It’s what children seem to enjoy, but adults should leave behind. We’re meant to value work and productivity and making sacrifices.

Fun is too selfish.

Play is so pointless.

Time off is for the weak.

Successful people listen to audiobooks while they sleep, eat books for breakfast and work through lunch… and dinner.

When fun is regarded as a sin you should ask forgiveness for, you will undoubtedly feel guilty doing anything recreational.

There’s nothing wrong with recreational activities. In fact, they are essential for healthy living.

Taking time off improves your work, rather than diminish it. Imagine working for 48 hours non-stop, and you’ll begin to appreciate the importance of sleep, as well as the clarity and vitality you can bring to each work session when you have time off in between sessions.

Having thoughts about work follow you wherever you go will drain you of energy, even when you’re not moving your projects forward.

But the Workaholic Mind isn’t the only reason for why play is no fun. How we approach our work can have a major impact on the degree to which we can enjoy our time off.

Stepping Away

Think of the last time you felt comfortable leaving your desk and doing something not work-related.

I suspect there was an element of closure – or completion – that made you feel satisfied with the work that you did and didn’t feel the need to worry about any lingering tasks yet to be completed.

Even if there is still work to be done, the fact that you finished something made you feel more relaxed about what’s left to be done.

But when there’s no end in sight, when we don’t have any sense of completion, “work” and “play” can create a toxic mix, where we’re unable to distinguish one from the other, and we’re easily distracted at work and anxious while we play.

To feel a sense of completion on a regular basis, and be able to enjoy your recreational activities, I suggest you give the following tips a try:

1) Use A Top-Heavy Schedule: Scott Young has a brilliant idea he calls “top-heaviness“, where he gets his work done early on the day (or the week), so that he doesn’t feel stressed out about his work during the rest of his day, or as a deadline draws near.

I wrote this post because I felt the lesson applies to my own life, especially when I started shooting videos at night, and would be thinking about them throughout the day, without being mentally present while doing anything else. Even when I would go for walks, I’d slow down as thoughts about my videos would pop into my head.

Creating the videos in the morning will help me feel that my video post for the day is done, and I can now move on to other things (including fun stuff! :D).

2) Keep A Daily To-Do List: Working from a to-do list that has 1,001 items on it means that you’ll never experience completion, especially as tasks continue to make their way into the list. Having a daily to-do list of tasks that you will complete during the day means that you can have time off once the tasks are done.

Make sure the tasks are important, and that you’re not busying yourself with shuffling papers.

3) Break Tasks Down To Tiny Chunks: The sense of completion feels beautiful. What’s more beautiful is experiencing it repeatedly. You can do that by breaking your tasks down into smaller and smaller chunks. That way you can step away from your work knowing that you’ve just completed a task rather than leave it incomplete and let it pester you when you take time off.

These are some ways you can enjoy guilt-free play.

If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments section. 🙂


Balance or Harmony?

During my off-days from the Video Challenge, I’m looking at some of the opinions my thoughtful friends have shared with me about life balance.

My blogger friend Gina pointed out the negative sentiments that might arise from the use of the word “balance” in her comment on my twelfth video in the Video Challenge.

… I see so many fret because they feel they are out of “balance” that they must get things into “balance” and so on. The word has put a lot of pressure on our lives. Perhaps the more compassionate way would be to have “harmony”?

I know for me looking back over my life much of the time may have not been balanced but may have been harmonious. Not all parts equal as in balancing out but all parts working well together…

Her point is relevant beyond the scope of “life balance”. Other words like “beauty” and “success” can have equally damaging effects, where we feel that we’re always being scrutinized and judged for our appearance and performance, and our self-worth is dictated by how well we measure up in these criteria.

But I think the problem lies in how we understand these words, and the place we allow them to take in our lives.

What’s In A Name?

“Balance” can mean different things to different people. The word will illicit different emotions according to these meanings and the experiences people have in trying to create “balance”.

I believe that a good starting point to gaining clarity about any word – especially if it’s very abstract – is to ask yourself: “What does it look like in the real world?”

We could be talking about “justice” but have two opposing meanings for the word.

So, if you were leading a balanced life, what would your life look like?

Is “Balance” A Good Thing?

Based on what you think “balance” looks like, is it something you wish to pursue?

If it is, then “balance” is a good thing for you. If it isn’t, then it’s a bad thing.

So, if “balance” is a good then, yet it makes you feel bad, then you need to develop a healthier relationship with it.

In the same way that the pursuit of success can develop into an unhealthy obsession, “balance” can rob our lives of the quality and joy we’re able to infuse in it, simply because we’ve made “balance” the end, and not the means to a healthy, happy life.

Besides, is “balance” always healthy, and in all circumstances?

The Importance Of Imbalance

While balanced living aims to give each life area the attention it needs to help you move your life forward and progress in each life area, there will be times when you need to spend more time, attention, and effort on one life area than on other life areas.

Trying to lead a balanced life while facing a crisis is neither realistic, nor desirable.

It’s not the appropriate approach to take in dealing with life’s challenges.

Therefore, we shouldn’t fear an imbalance in our lives, but should strive to create balance when it’s healthy to do so.

It may not always be easy, but balanced living requires that we develop the skills to deal with life more effectively. And while we develop those skills, it’s only natural that we experience a great deal of imbalance as we learn to adjust and balance.

Harmony Between Life Areas

I consider harmony to be the quality that defines the degree to which our goals in each life area are congruent with each other. To resolve clashing goals and conflicting activities is what creates harmony in our lives, and helps us move all our life areas forward, rather than take two steps back in one life area in order to inch forward in another.

How do you feel about life balance?

And do you prefer the word “harmony” instead?


Life Areas: Separating the Inseparable

I won’t be posting a video today (and most likely tomorrow, either, unless Panadol tea is a miracle cure), due to an unwelcome cold and an unholy runny nose. Instead, I thought I’d address a couple of issues that were raised by a couple of blogger buddies of mine on the topic of life balance.

In this post I’d like to address a point my friend Linda Gabriel made in the comments section of my 9th Video on how the concept of “life balance” can be limiting, because

… it presumes there are parts of our life that are separate. Even though I just spoke of different “areas” of life I understand that’s an illusion. Life is not comparmentalized. If you try to find balance in the air in a balloon, you can squeeze the air from one end to another, but it’s still all the same air!

This is an extremely important observation to make in order to approach life balance in a healthy way.

The seven life areas don’t exist in isolation, nor do we experience them separately. Our Spiritual life area permeates everything we do. Our Physical body is with us wherever we go. When we choose to be alone we’re influencing our Social life, as well.

There’s one reality. And everything in it is interconnected.

Separations in Academia

Our education might have masked this truth from us.

When we go from a biology class, to a physics class, to an English class, we might have lost sight of how they are connected, and what they relate to. All academic subjects refer to things in reality, and reality is one.

Living things don’t exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by the physical laws of nature. The English language has a history that threads many cultures and civilizations, and how we pronounce words is influenced by our biological make-up, and the noises we are able to make with our mouths.

There are always overlaps between academic subjects, because they deal with matters that aren’t separated in the real world. To truly understand these academic subjects, we must accept what they refer to, and that reality is one, and indivisible.

So, why speak of life areas when they overlap in so many ways?

Every academic subject has a focal point.

The focal point of biology is life and living organisms. In chemistry it’s chemicals and their properties. In geography it’s the Earth and its features.

These 3 subjects are interconnected. But when it comes to studying biology, for example, you will look at chemicals and the Earth’s features, and how they relate to life, because that’s the focal point of the subject.

Separations in Life

When it comes to our life areas, we shouldn’t think of them as being separate. Instead, we should acknowledge that each life area has a different focal point. It’s concerned with certain human needs that we can identify as being of a Spiritual/Intellectual/Psychological/Social/Professional/Recreational/Physical nature.

How would you classify prayer, meditation, and religion?

How would you classify nutrion and exercise?

I suspect you can think of obvious life areas to which these topics belong. This isn’t to say that no other life area will play a role, but that some topics can be identified strongly with one of the 7 life areas.

Why Life Areas Matter

But what’s the benefit to maintaining this separation? Shouldn’t we lump all human needs under the single category of “Human Needs”?

While we have many needs to fulfill, our lifestyle may not encourage us to care for all our needs. When we focus on our work and neglect our relationships, or our health, it means that we’re not approaching life in a healthy way.

The seven life areas help to identify the different types of needs we should be aware of for healthy, happy living, and develop the awareness to continuously care for all these needs.

Precisely because the life areas can’t be separated. And they all play an important role in our lives.

Life balance is an important topic because we don’t tend to approach life in a healthy and holistic way, and need to be reminded of the life areas we must care for.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll look at a point raised by another friend of mine, so stay tuned for that! 🙂