Are you spending too much time at work in order to make money for things you don’t need? Are you letting someone else define success for you, and is this a definition with which you would agree?
Have you sacrificed your home life for success at work? These ideas are discussed by Nigel Marsh, Alain de Botton and Peter Reinhart in these three TED Talks which will help you gain insight into the work-life balance. These talks consider our definition of success, how that affects us and what we can do about it.
Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work
What is your ideal schedule for a normal weekday? How much time would you like to be spending with family, friends and at work? How far are you from that ideal? Nigel Marsh, author of Fat, Forty and Fired says it’s time we take our lives in our own hands. He challenges us to consider what a balanced life would look like, and then make it work. Marsh asserts that the corporations for which we work may give us casual days, but that isn’t getting to the root of the problem. They will only ask as much of us as they can get. In order to get balanced lives, we need to unite in a voice that demands family time before we’re too old to enjoy it. Marsh encourages us to make time for family now, instead of waiting until we’re divorced and the kids have moved out.
Alain de Botton: A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success
In a society full of snobbery about success at work, it’s easy to let other people define success for us. Alain de Botton explains that our fear of being judged by other people affects what and how much we buy and what we choose as a career. When we don’t live up to this definition of success that we accepted, rather than one we created, our life outside of work is affected in the form of low self-esteem. Botton asserts that the discussion of the work-life balance at times leads us to believe we can have it all, and this is false. Botton suggests that we are all failing in some way, either in the way of our idea of a successful career or in our idea of a good home life. He challenges us to make our own definition of success, and implied is the challenge to let others define their own success, as well.
Peter Reinhart on Bread
As a master bread maker, Peter Reinhart is dedicated to making healthy bread taste good. In this speech Reinhart shares his secrets for baking healthy bread, wisdom we can apply to our lives in trying to create a healthy and enjoyable life. Are you taking time to craft a truly enjoyable life like a baker would take time to create a pre-dough? Are you aware of the sacrifices you have to make in one area to gain success in another? Reinhart talks about the transformation from dough to bread, which includes sacrifice on the part of the wheat plant and the dough. So it is in life, that when we choose to change our life in some big way, it will include a sacrifice of what we had before. When choosing to spend more time at work, we’re choosing to spend less time at home and vice versa. Reinhart’s talk on bread is an analogy we can apply again and again each time we make a choice.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Dan Woods is HR Consultant who recommends 10 Great TED Lectures on Work and Success for personal growth and evaluation.