I read this brief but incredibly meaningful speech from a former CEO of Coca Cola:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.  They are Work, Family, Health, friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball.  If you drop it, it will bounce back.  But the other four Balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass.  If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered.  They will never be the same.  You must understand that and strive for it.

Think of the balls as hoops and your life is like the Olympic games.  Do you want to go for gold, or are you happy to be another person watching life pass you by in front of the TV?

With all of the emphasis on goals, objectives and striving for personal improvement, I saw the 5 ring model bringing more meaning to life.  We all know or know of people who define themselves by their work.  Then there are those who have goals outside of work, like climbing mount Everest for example, however its clear and simple to see that all they have done is taken personal objectives out of the work environment.  They are still personal.

I listened to a podcast the other day where a VP of sales in Unilever had reached the pinnacle of his career and had now done just that – he had created a huge goal to ride around the globe on his trials bike.  That’s great for him, but where does his family feature?  They can watch on Instagram I suppose.

The trick and the meaning to life is to have shared goals, mostly with your family.  That’s why I visualise the 5 rubber balls as the Olympic symbol – because they are all interrelated – not standalone.  And that’s where it gets tough.  Because you then have to find and understand the real meaning of life.  That’s heavy.  And on top, not many people will be there to pat you on the back or give you encouraging feedback.  Not sounding that attractive yet is it?

But luckily the real rewards are incredibly deep and meaningful and long lasting.  Consider this very vague goal of bringing your children up well.  What does it mean?  It means you actually need to think about how you want your kids to turn out … how you expect them to behave, the moral framework you expect them to live in, their religious or spiritual beliefs, their approach to family, friends and work.  In short you need to define the content of the 5 rubber balls you think best for your kids.  Then you need to work out how you will get them their.  And just like managing a team at work, you need to train them, encourage them, provide feedback, reward, admonish and most of all …. lead by example.

And what do you get in return.  In the first place, you convert the unconditional love of a new born baby into the deeper everlasting love that exists between parent and child.  More than that, you find that you create an environment where your kids actually want to be with you, because you actually have loads of things in common!  And then all of a sudden you look at you kids as they are growing up and you see them do things you never expected and achieve things that maybe you thought were beyond them, and they turn round to you and say “well Daddy, do you remember when we were at Grandma and Grandad’s house and you told me to focus on the wall behind them and just sing as if they weren’t there, I just did that”.  Having just performed a solo in front of one thousand people.

Climbing to the top of Mont Blanc is something that once interested me.  But like the photos on your phone, unless you have family and friends to share the experiences with, they are of little use.  Reaching the pinnacle of your career is incredibly lonely if you are there alone.  A family adventure, going camping with a group of friends, achieving a team goal, working with a charity to put a new roof on the local church, all of these will be remembered by all those involved and will create a deeper, richer meaning to life.

As a final word,

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time.  Give the required time to your family, friends & have proper rest.





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