Having a ‘Balanced Life’ Is Over-Rated.

It seems everyone likes to preach to others, “live a balanced life-style”.  It’s more the idealistic way of thinking, and a lot of book gurus will preach the idea of being ‘balanced’ as something to ‘strive for!’.  And although there may be some merit in it, a-lot of people are justifying extra wasted time as being balanced, and enjoying life instead of just getting what they should be getting done…

If you take a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs, most, if not all were did not live a ‘balanced’ life-style when building their businesses.  They were, building their businesses.  A lot of them had to work 80 hours a week for several years to get to where they needed to be. They had their goals set out, and if something wasn’t relative to what they needed to do, they diddn’t do it, and just sticked to their guns and did what they needed to be done.  And in result, they did not live a balanced lifestyle like most people would preach is a great-life-style.  And that has made all the difference.

YouTube, sold for over a billion dollars.  Do you think the co-founders were balanced at all?  Absolutely not, if you’re geeky like me and watched the video on how YouTube scaled their infrastructure to support their millions of videos being uploaded and streamed daily you’ll understand that there is absolutely no time for balance.  And that balance goes out the window, and instead what produced amazing wealthy and prosperity, and soon-to-be-happiness for the co-founders, was their ability to be extremely biased in their activity and doing what they needed to do, Scale, and forget everything else, forget being balanced…

And what happened after their months of burnout, of extreme hard work, it paid off, and for those being balanced for that month, not much happened… we don’t hear about those stories.

The developers of YouTube were daily having system crashes, and they could not keep up with their growth.  What do you do when you have 2 days left of storage for videos to be uploaded?  What do you do when you find out your folders can’t hold any more images, that you spending money on hosting like crazy.  You have so many scaling problems you can’t even sleep, because when you do something goes wrong.  Day in and day out problems occur, there is no time for being balanced, and this is the time, where you are so concentrated on your work and focusing on it, that extreme wealth is created…   The result of how-ever long it took them to build YouTube to a billion dollar buyout exactly I do not know, but I do know that entire time they weren’t living a balanced life-style at all.

Although I agree living a good-life and having some fun is important, and of course being healthy.  I see way to often, a-lot of ‘want to be successful people’ preaching their doing activities for fun, because they live a balanced lifestyle, and can’t work all day.  And theses are the people more often that not that don’t make much money, doing many things that don’t produce a-lot of results. 

Most, if not all of the young-entrepreneurs I personally know & met who are millionaires under the age of 25, are all extremely un-balanced.  They work extremely hard, and don’t care about being balanced, because they know being balanced in many different aspects of life doesn’t produce much money.  And the major difference to understand is this, perusing money isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But ‘a lot of people’ who want more money in their lives, go about their days saying they are balanced as an excuse to not get real work done.  While the others who as well want money, and really make it happen are the ones, the few who really go to work and don’t care about-balance and infact don’t want it.

I think being-balanced, personally, is over-rated, for us to get to our next stage, ( a new version of our software coming out soon ), we need to be extremely un-balanced and just get 80 hours of work a week done, to get it done, as soon as possible.  And that’s all that’s really important, most people I know who are really balanced, who do a-lot of fun things, aren’t really that successful from my personal experiences.  That being said, to each his own, if you want to be balanced go for it! But being balanced doesn’t produce much net-worth?  Do you want to be rich? Or do you want to be balanced? What do you think about being balanced? 

  • Wicked. This post definitely resonates with me. I’m staying at Yahoo HQ for a weekend Hackathon, sleeping on the floor at night. Nobody here is balanced. But, we’re all going all out toward something…. and I’m telling you, we’re going to get there faster than anyone balanced.

  • Hey Wes,
    Another great inspiring post. I personally try to spend every available minute getting things done. Of course, having a wife and kids forces me to ‘balance’ out my life somewhat, as I cannot only think about myself. But I’m fortunate enough to have a wife who is fully understanding of what I’m working on – and she knows all my hard work and time spent will pay off in the end.

    I always enjoy reading your posts on entrepreneurial spirit and thinking. And I will definitely come to some of your Meetups when I move to the US next year. 🙂

  • Depends on your definition of a balance life.

    I work 80 hours a week, work out at the gym 3-4 times a week and at the same hang out with family and my partner. I just don’t sleep a lot,

    So a balance life is what you make it to be. Do what is important to you. Don’t waste time procrastinating. Just do it.

    Persuing money is not evil. Just don’t do evil when persuing it.

    Again great post Wes.


  • Kyle Irwin

    money != happiness

    Wes, you should read “How to get rich” by Felix Dennis if you haven’t already. You would enjoy it.

  • Hey Wes,
    Wealth and freedom is great. The problem is, what if you die before you get there? I agree with some of the earlier posts- balance matters in the sense that as long as you’re not giving up relationships and things of lasting value to accomplish your ambitions- crazy dedication is a positive thing. However, if you’re pursuing wealth to the detriment of relationships- where will you be if you fail, or what will you leave behind if you die? (nothing)

    I’ve also met many successful CEO’s and serial entrepreneurs over the last two years. Lot’s and lot’s of money. Unfortunately, a relatively common theme is divorce and family dysfunction. Not something I want as part of my legacy. Balance has to be pursued if you have any plans for a healthy family.

  • True guys, I guess it depends on the situation, family have to be some-what balanced. Maybe the post-should-be-retittled- balance is over-rated for a bootstrapping entrepreneur.

    Kyle next book I’ll seek that one out,

  • Mike

    The day you have a family of your own. You will understand what it means to seek a “balanced life”.