The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: Finding balance  


“God created lands with lakes and rivers for man to live. And the desert so that he can find his soul.” – African Proverb

One of the questions in the hearts of many people has to do with how one finds a balance between the challenges and complexities of working and living. It is a void that desires to be filled and fulfilled. We all have it. We try to ignore at times, but still it remains. The religious among us argue that it is a key aspect of life. And that it is a longing written into our DNA by our Creator to make us search for Him and unite ourselves with Him. This simplistic answer is not readily embraced by secularists, and so the questioning continues.

One of the best arguments presented by secularists is the analogy of life as a game wherein we are constantly juggling many balls in the air. is a commonly used metaphor to describe the challenges and complexities of living. The balls represent the different aspects of our lives, such as work, family, relationships, health, hobbies and personal goals. Our quest is to keep all the balls up in the air. Sadly, not many of us are good jugglers and so we do not all have the skill and resilience to manage all the different balls effectively. What the majority among do, at best, is to focus on a few balls at a time. That is why the advice often given when ‘finding balance’ comes up is for us to learn prioritisation and adjusting to situations.

But if it was that easy, we would have found the fulfillment we have been craving and the questioning about balance would have ceased. Interestingly, the questioning continues; would it not be better if we married the views of both the religious and secular. As Shrikrishna Venkatesh Puntambekar, the Indian political scientist, put it: “There is something more in man than is apparent in his ordinary consciousness and behaviour under a given system of environment, something which frames ideals and values of life. There is in him a finer spiritual presence which makes him dissatisfied with merely earthly pursuits”. His view argues for the introduction of higher spiritual objectives into our material pursuit of life. It is a view that offers a more holistic approach to solving the ‘finding balance’ challenge than either side on its presents.

All in all, our leaning toward the pursuit of happiness, without incorporating the pursuit of a good life, has led to the one-sided attitude creating unfulfillment within us. Thus, Puntambekar’s suggestion that we blend both makes a lot of sense. It is not unusual for many of us to suppress good in the name of gaining immediate pleasure or happiness. As a matter of fact, that has become the norm in our age. However, it is worth noting that the pursuit of happiness and pursuit of a good life are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can often go hand in hand, as happiness is often a by-product of living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

It is time for us to put we way we live into its proper perspective. We know we cannot control how life unfolds. What we can do is to control the way we interact with life. We want happiness, but if life is not made good, over time, whatever pleasure we may have gained evaporates and leave us feeling empty. Happiness flourishes in a state of goodness, and not the other way round. Thus, if we truly want to balance the life we live we should focus on creating a good environment and our happiness will follow suit. It is the mutual pursuit of goodness and happiness that will grant us the fulfillment which has eluded us over the decades.

For example, many of us strive to keep our happiness from our goodness. It is like separating our work lives from the other aspects of our lives. We lose out on both. It makes living unmeaningful and unfulfilling. Your happiness should be part of your goodness, like the way your work life will always be a part of all the other aspects of your life. When we place our goodness in a separate box from our happiness – and try as much as we can not to mix them – we miss out on the synergy of the two most important realities of our lives. Realistically, they are not necessarily opposed to each other. They each affect the other. You are the one preventing their proper marrying and subsequently creating the unfulfillment in your life.

We can have the best of both worlds, so let us work toward that…


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses, helping them cultivate synergy that catapults them into their strategic growth and certifies their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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