Tag Archive | Balance

On Balance 5

Nothing happens to the wise man against his expectations. (Seneca)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I lost balance.

Why is that a problem?

I don’t want to lose balance.

There’s your problem right there. 

Losing balance is inevitable. What you want is an impossibility.

Losing balance is outside your control. Something external happens which triggers an unconscious internal response – oft-times unpleasant. You can’t control the internal response. What you can control is how you respond to and how fast you recover from it.

Expect losing balance, my dear. Greet it as an old friend. Thus you ensure it never takes you by surprise.

Losing balance is a beautiful opportunity to practice recovery. Every time you lose balance is another rep(etition) of this vital art.

Losing balance is a beautiful opportunity to learn something about yourself. Every time you lose balance ask yourself:

What is the lesson?

Find the lesson, then express gratitude for the beautiful gift. 

There’s always a gift.

On Meaning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What’s the difference between you at your highest and you at your lowest?

“Connection with Meaning.

To navigate life, we build a Map of Meaning for ourselves to give us a sense of purpose and direction. In the absence of a Map, we drift through life, from distraction to distraction, in an effort to temporarily extinguish the gnawing emptiness within.

Without a Map, the challenge is forgetting.
With a Map, the challenge is remembering.

We can’t help temporarily forgetting what’s essential. Balance is a perpetual homecoming – endlessly losing ourselves and finding our way back to Meaning.

By Meaning are you referring to God?

For some, it is God. For others, something else. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it opens your heart to the Beauty of existence.

On Balance 4

Life is not a stable process. Our ability to recover is our greatest quality. (Moshe Feldenkrais)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I lost balance.”

“Recovery after losing balance is one of the most important life skills.

You can’t practice recovery without losing balance.

Losing balance is a gift. 

Every time you lose balance is an opportunity to practice recovery. Always make the most of it.”

On Balance and Design

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Every time something disturbs your Balance is a beautiful opportunity.

A learning opportunity, in understanding the causes and practicing recovery.

A creative opportunity, in designing an optimal response and the learning protocol itself.”

“What is the output of the design process?”

“A set of practical questions for every aspect of the process.

For instance:

When x, what y? (question template)
When you lose balance, what y? (question template)
When you lose balance, what is the optimal response?

Recovering balance has a mental and physical component. Translated in question form:

When you lose balance, what do you want to think?
When you lose balance, what do you want to do?”

On Balance 3

Balance is an active process of returning to the center. It’s not about being perfect each and every day but responding and paying attention. (Matt Myers)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Losing balance is inevitable.

Balance is not static. It’s a state of dynamic equilibrium.”

“Like balancing.”

“We might think of balancing as embodied balance.

Every instance of losing balance is a beautiful opportunity.

Opportunity to practice recovering balance (Equanimity), to perfect your recovery protocol (and efficiency).
Opportunity to learn something about yourself, by understanding why you lost balance.

Every instance of losing balance is a rep(etition).

The more you lose balance, the more reps you get in.
The more varied you lose balance, the more adaptable you become.

Think of every instance of losing balance as a training session.

You will not remember most of the times you lost balance in a few days, or even the next day. Their value is in the moment. Be grateful for and make the most of every single one of them. 

You can even start every session with a mantra, like:

‘This is what I train for!’ (Brain Johnson)

‘This is what I need!’ (Joseph Campbell)

‘This too is the Beautiful Game [<link; medium read].'”

“How do you measure progress?”

“By how fast you recover balance, and by the extent to which you can recover balance from any point.”

On Balance 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I consider Balance one of the most important values.”

“What do you mean by Balance?”

“I mean moderation. Neither too much, nor too little. Think Aristotle’s golden mean between excess and deficiency.

I mean equanimity. The moment to moment practice of returning to your Center.

I mean proportionality. I use Brian Johnson’s beautiful Big Three framework:


All of them are equally important, so I strive to give them equal attention.

I mean oscillation. Two types in particular:

Input/Output – the balance between absorbing information and creating and acting on it.

On/Off – the balance between full engagement and full disengagement.

I like to think of the last two as a daily checklist.”

Two types of knowledge

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I recently read about the scientific distinction between two types of knowledge: declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge.”

“What is the difference between them?”

“We might think of 
declarative knowledge as knowledge of, and of 
procedural knowledge as knowledge how.

They correspond to what I’ve identified as two important aspects of the learning process: Understanding and Implementation.

The efficient output of declarative knowledge is the formation (and refinement) of mental models (model-making). You’re forming a schematic mental map of what you’re learning by connecting it with other information nodes [network model].

The efficient output of procedural knowledge is the formation of habits and skills. You’re forming optimal neural patterns through strategic mindful repetition (deliberate practice).

Visually, it looks something like this:

“So this is an example of declarative knowledge.”


Efficient learning requires striking a balance between these two types of knowledge. I call it the declarative/procedural ratio.”

Balancing the Input with the Output 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is more important, [informational] input or [behavioral and creative output] output?”


“Which are you dedicating more time to?”

“How about balancing the input with the output [<link; short read]?”

“By balancing I don’t mean equal distribution – I mean allocating time proportionally to importance.”

On Learning and Quality

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize learning?”

“Realize that there’s two aspects to it: the learning foundation, and the learning process.

The former refers to getting yourself in a peak mental and emotional state for learning. That means optimizing what Brian Johnson calls the Fundamentals:


It also means training your capacity to focus.

As concerns the latter, start by asking a better question.

What exactly do you want to optimize about the learning process?”

“I want to maximize learning density [<link; short read]. The amount of learning I get done every day.”

“The problem with that statement is that it focuses only on quantity.

Let’s say you get a lot of learning done in a day, but of low quality. Think cramming for an exam. You have a high density, but very low quality.

The learning process has an input and an output. Let’s say you have a lot of efficient input in a day but zero output. You have a high density, but an imbalanced input/output ratio [<link; short read].

You want to get more learning done every day. (Quantity)


You want to get more out of your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more present in your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more balanced in your learning every day [<link; medium read]. (Quality)

Quality has four components: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Presence, and Balance.

We can think of effectiveness as the macro, and efficiency as the micro. Strategy and tactics. Both are essential.

To maximize density, maximize efficiency. 

Better still, focus on maximizing all aspects of Quality. You can think of them as the Quality-checklist.”

On Learning and Balance

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“An important aspect of learning is balance.

On one hand, learning is balancing the input with the output.”

“What is the input and output of learning?”

“The input of learning is information. The most important kind of information is experiential-information. What we experience directly (direct experience), or indirectly, through exposure to the experiences of others (indirect experience). Since our direct experience is limited, indirect experience is an essential supplement.

The output of learning is the creation of persistent structures.
Persistent behavioral structures – habits and skills.
Persistent mental structures – insights and useful mental models.

Viewed as processes, the output of learning is two-fold: implementation and understanding.

Let’s say you want to read for an hour every day. If you read passively, that’s all input, and very low efficiency. You’ll likely forget most if not all of it. Active reading is both input and output. Deeply engaging with the information, taking notes, connecting it with your existing knowledge, and testing yourself to maximize retention.

Or let’s say you have a certain meaningful experience. If you don’t reflect on it afterwards, that’s all input. Whatever lesson the experience contained will be lost. Active living means living an experience twice: both in the present moment, and in hindsight, to extract the treasure within.

On the other hand, learning is balancing the outputs. Balancing implementation with understanding.

In practical terms that means dividing your learning time each day between implementation and understanding. Creating space every day for practice and implementation.”