Thursday, June 16, 2016

9 Nuggets from the Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh on Work Life Balance

The human civilization is currently passing through an age which is dominated by huge business corporations that create wealth majorly for the capitalists and a little bit for the "workers".

The idea behind paying decent wages to the workers is to sustain and augment the middle class which is the pivot on which consumerism runs.

In addition, the current education system has perhaps been designed to serve as an assembly line for continuously producing "corporate rats" to keep the huge business corporations running.

Work life balance is perhaps the biggest dilemma the corporate rats have to always contend with. In this context, there is this Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh on work life balance which is an excellent take on this subject.

The term "work life" seems to give an impression that work and life are disjoint sets. However, it is more appropriate to view work as a sub-set of life!

Here are 9 nuggets from Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh:
  • I'd like all of you to pause for a moment, you wretched weaklings, and take stock of your miserable existence. Now that was the advice that St. Benedict gave his rather startled followers in the fifth century. It was the advice that I decided to follow myself when I turned 40.
  • So I stepped back from the workforce, and I spent a year at home with my wife and four young children. But all I learned about work-life balance from that year was that I found it quite easy to balance work and life when I didn't have any work.
  • And the reality of the society that we're in is there are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like.
  • We should stop looking outside. It's up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don't design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.
  • We need to elongate the time frame upon which we judge the balance in our life, but we need to elongate it without falling into the trap of the "I'll have a life when I retire, when my kids have left home, when my wife has divorced me, my health is failing, I've got no mates or interests left." A day is too short; "after I retire" is too long. There's got to be a middle way.
  • Now I don't mean to mock, but being a fit 10-hour-a-day office rat isn't more balanced; it's more fit. Lovely though physical exercise may be, there are other parts to life - there's the intellectual side; there's the emotional side; there's the spiritual side.
  • As I was walking out of his bedroom, he said, "Dad?" I went, "Yes, mate?" He went, "Dad, this has been the best day of my life, ever." I hadn't done anything, hadn't taken him to Disney World or bought him a Playstation. 
  • Now my point is the small things matter. Being more balanced doesn't mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.
  • Because if enough people do it, we can change society's definition of success away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.

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