Concept of balance

Author Colin Wright said, “Extreme is easy, balance is hard.”

It is true.

Putting it into a perspective. Being extreme does not mean doing something dangerous or doing crazy things. In this sense, being extreme is doing something “too much” or “too little”, being “over” or being “under”. It is easy to become extreme, but it is hard to maintain the perfect middle – just right, balance.

A wise man once said, “Religion is all about the beautiful middle path”.

Religion as the most ancient knowledge humanity had before science even emphasized in the concept of balance.

A more modern philosophical approach in the concept of balance found in the book David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm mentioned that we are living in an inverted U-shaped world. In everything we do, we simply cannot escape from this phenomenon. The curve which also known as Kuznets curve is something like this:

Using the relationship between parenting and money as an example, Malcolm Gladwell argues the principle of -more is not always better. Everyone agreed, it is hard to be a good parent if you have too little money. It is obvious that poverty is exhausting. Especially, if you need to work two jobs to meet end needs. You would not have time to read for your children at night.

But no one would ever say it is always true that the more money you have, the better parent you can be.

A good example of more money makes harder parenting can be seen in the children of immigrants millionaire in the United States. An immigrant mogul that grew up in the old country of middle class, where scarcity was a great motivator and teacher. He learnt the value of money and the virtues of independence and hard work. However, at the time the mogul become a parent, his children live in the new world of riches. How do you teach “work hard, be independent, or learn the meaning of money” to a kid who have a Ferrari in the driveway, a private jet, and a house in Beverly Hills of the size of airplane hangar ?

A Spanish proverb says “Quien no lo tiene, lo hance; y quien lo tiene, lo deshance” (he who doesn’t have it, does it, and he who has it, misuses it). Wealth contains the seed of its own destruction.

Therefore, the parenting graph shows like this


At the left side of the curve, where money was “too little”, it makes having more is better. Then, there is the right side of the curve where money was “too much” and it makes having more is worse. It is true that parents suppose to provide their children with good living standards, but they also need to set the limits of money in their parenting strategy.

Mathematician will disagree with Malcolm’s simplified understanding on the inverted U-shape curve. Relying solely on inverted U-curve might be considered as oversimplification but there is always interesting things that we can learn from this concept. It may help us to shift our paradigm of thinking.

The whole point of this post is that we need to strike a balanced life and sometimes balance is hard to achieve. Being ‘too little’ is obviously not good, while being ‘too much’ also become counterproductive.

You can find the book that inspire this post at here

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