You are sitting on it for the first time and your five year old self is scared to death. Just like its two wheels and two pedals, it seems to always put you in a dual state of mind… should I touch my feet down or just keep pedaling? Luckily for you there is your dad or elder brother right behind you, holding on to the carrier or the seat of the cycle. Coaxing you into taking your feet off the ground, he asks you to just keep pedaling and not worry about falling down. You trust him and start pedaling. Magical! You can’t believe that you are not falling down and still cruising along. Your brother says now he is going to let go but warns you against panicking. He lets go and maybe because in childhood you have an instinct to do exactly what you have been told not to, you panic, lose your balance and crash. You start crying and yelling at your brother accusing of doing this on purpose. You get into a squabble with him but are back on the two-wheeled monster again in a while. Slowly, over time, after falling down a few times you are able to nail every aspect of it and acquire the new superpower of cycling! This is the second, extremely significant time in your life that you have learned to maintain balance on your own, though you are blissfully unaware that your entire life you will end up doing just that… finding the right balance.
As time progresses, those small wheels under you become bigger, bulkier, have more complex spokes, multiply in number and before you know it, you are old enough that those wheels morph into invisible circles and eventually surround you as personal, professional, social and a myriad different spheres entangled into each other. And yet you are supposed to do the exact same thing that you did decades ago… find the right balance. Between academics and cultural activities. Between being offensive and defensive on a sports field. Spending too much money versus saving so much that you become a miser. Watching news against watching the popular brain-dead but funny show. Between following your passions and keeping up with the daily chores. Between traveling incessantly and giving yourself a breather to recollect the beautiful memories. Between buying every little toy that your kid demands and disciplining her to earn her keep. Between writing too long a post in order to make a point versus the risk of losing your audience! Heck, for some people like this family of line walkers, balance is literally a question of life and death. You have no option but to learn to strike the right balance between these and innumerable other things for though your dad or elder brother are still around, even they can’t find the seat or the carrier of your life that they could hold on to, to keep you from falling.
It would then seem that the person who has learned to achieve perfect balance in the most complex situations would be the most successful person, right? Yes and no. It depends on how you define success. If it means having a simple life and meeting your goals across varied aspects of life, if you want to be an all-rounder then yes. But if success to you means fame and fortune of the highest level, of making a significant difference to the world, then it’s a totally different game. If we study the lives of the most iconic people in any field, there is a significant period when everything is in disarray, where balance might be the last thing on their minds. In due course, it seems that they do finally achieve what they set out for and the scale of balance looks just fine.
Apparently, even how to maintain balance through your lifetime is a balancing act in itself!