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  • Wasn't Bred fantastic?

  • I thought that was just really terrific,

  • but it has left me feeling slightly

  • technologically challenged,

  • because I haven't got any satellite videos.

  • (Laughter)

  • Truth to be told, I haven't got any slides either.

  • What I thought I would do is I would start

  • with a simple request.

  • I'd like all of you to pause for a moment,

  • you wretched weaklings,

  • and take stock of your miserable existence.

  • (Laughter)

  • That was the advice that Saint Benedict gave

  • his rather startled followers in the fifth century.

  • It was the advice that I decided to follow myself

  • when I turned 40.

  • Up until that moment,

  • I had been a classic corporate warrior.

  • I was eating too much, I was drinking too much,

  • I was working too hard

  • and I was neglecting my family.

  • And I decided that I would try and turn my life around.

  • In particular, I decided I would try to address

  • the thorny issue of work-life balance.

  • So, I stepped back from the workforce

  • and I spent a year at home with my wife

  • and four young children.

  • But all I learnt about work-life balance from that year

  • was that I found it quite easy to balance work and life

  • when I didn't have any work.

  • (Laughter)

  • Not a very useful skill,

  • especially when the money runs out.

  • So I went back to work and I have spent

  • these seven years since struggling with,

  • studying and writing about work-life balance.

  • I have four observations I would like to share with you today.

  • The first is, if society is to make any progress on this issue,

  • we need a honest debate.

  • But the trouble is so many people talk

  • so much rubbish about work-life balance.

  • All the discussions about flexi-time

  • or dress-down Fridays or paternity leave

  • only serve to mask the core issue,

  • which is that certain job and career choices

  • are fundamentally incompatible

  • with being meaningfully engaged

  • on a day-to-day basis with a young family.

  • The first step in solving any problem

  • is acknowledging the reality of the situation you're in.

  • And the reality of the society that we are in

  • is there are thousands and thousands of people out there

  • leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation

  • where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate,

  • to enable them to buy things they don't need,

  • to impress people they don't like.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • It is my contention that going to work on a Friday in jeans and T-shirt

  • isn't really getting into the nub of the issue.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • The second observation I'd like to make

  • is really to face the truth

  • that governments and corporations

  • aren't going to solve this issue for us.

  • We should stop looking outside.

  • It is up to us as individuals

  • to take control and responsibility for the type of lives

  • that we want to lead.

  • If you don't design your life, someone else will design it for you,

  • and you may just not like their idea of balance.

  • It is particularly important --

  • this isn't in the World Wide Web, is it? I am about to get fired.

  • It is particularly important that you never put the quality of your life

  • in the hands of a commercial corporation.

  • I am not talking here just about the bad companies,

  • the 'abattoirs of the human soul' as I call them,

  • (Laughter)

  • I am talking about all companies,

  • because commercial companies are inherently desgined

  • to get as much out of you

  • as they can get away with.

  • It's in their nature, it's in their DNA, it's what they do

  • even the good, well-intentioned companies.

  • On the one hand, putting childcare facilities in the workplace

  • is wonderful and enlightened.

  • On the other hand, it is a nightmare that just means

  • you spend more time at the bloody office.

  • We have to be responsible for setting and enforcing

  • the boundaries that we want in our life.

  • The third observation is we have to be careful

  • with the time frame that we choose upon which to judge our balance.

  • Before I went back to work after my year at home,

  • I sat down and I wrote out

  • a detailed, step-by-step description

  • of the ideal balanced day that I aspired to.

  • And it went like this:

  • Wake up well rested after a good night's sleep.

  • Have sex.

  • (Laughter)

  • Walk the dog.

  • Have breakfast with my wife and children.

  • Have sex again.

  • (Laughter)

  • Drive the kids to school on the way to the office.

  • Do three hours' work.

  • Play sport with a friend at lunchtime.

  • Do another three hours' work.

  • Meet some mates in the pub for an early evening drink.

  • Drive home for dinner with my wife and kids.

  • Meditate for half an hour.

  • Have sex.

  • Walk the dog.

  • Have sex again.

  • (Laughter)

  • Go to bed.

  • (Applause)

  • How often do you think I have that day?

  • (Laughter)

  • We need to be realistic.

  • You can't do it all in one day.

  • We need to elongate the time frame

  • upon which we judge the balance in our life

  • but we need to elongate it without falling into the trap

  • of the "I'll have a life when I retire, when my kids have left home,

  • when my wife has divorced me, my health is failing,

  • I have got no mates or interests left."

  • (Laughter)

  • A day is too short, "after a retire" is too long.

  • It has got to be a middle way.

  • The fourth observation:

  • we need to approach balance in a balanced way.

  • A friend came to see me last year --

  • she doesn't mind me telling the story.

  • A friend came to see me last year and said

  • "Nigel, I've read your book and I have realised my life is completely out of balance.

  • It is totally dominated by work.

  • I work 10 hours a day, I commute 2 hours a day.

  • All my relationships have failed.

  • There is nothing in my life apart from my work.

  • So I have decided to get a grip and sort it out.

  • So I have joined the gym."

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, I don't mean to mock

  • but being a fit, ten-hour-a-day office rat

  • isn't more balanced, it is more fit.

  • (Laughter)

  • Lovely though physical exercise may be, there are other parts to life.

  • There is the intellectual side, there is the emotional side,

  • there is the spiritual side.

  • And to be balanced, I believe we have to attend to all of those areas.

  • Not just do 50 stomach crunches.

  • That can be daunting, because people say

  • "Bloody hell, mate, I haven't got time to get fit

  • and you want me to go to church and call my mother."

  • And I understand, I truly understand how that can be daunting.

  • But an incident that happened a couple of years ago

  • gave me a new perspective.

  • My wife, who is somewhere in the audience today,

  • called me up at the office and said

  • "Nigel, you need to pick our youngest son up, Harry, from school."

  • She had to be somewhere else with the other three children for that evening.

  • So I left work an hour early that afternoon

  • and picked Harry up at the school gates.

  • We walked down to the local park,

  • messed around on the swings, played some silly games.

  • I then walked him up the hill to the local café

  • and we shared a pizza for tea.

  • Then, walked down the hill to our home

  • and I gave him a bath and put him in his Batman pijamas.

  • I then read him a chapter of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach".

  • I then put him to bed, tucked him in,

  • gave him a kiss on his forehead and said "Goodnight, mate."

  • And walked out of his bedroom.

  • As I was walking out of his bedroom,

  • he said, "Dad?", I went "Yes, mate?"

  • he went, "Dad, this has been the best day of my life.

  • Ever."

  • I hadn't done anything.

  • I hadn't taken him to Disney World or bought him a Playstation.

  • Now, my point is the small things matter.

  • Being more balanced doesn't mean dramatic upheaval in your life.

  • With the smallest investment in the right places

  • you can radically transform the quality of your relationships

  • and the quality of your life.

  • Moreover, I think it can transform society

  • because if enough people do it,

  • we can change society's definition of success

  • away from the moronically simplistic notion

  • that the person with the most money when he dies wins,

  • to a more thoughtful and balanced definition

  • of what a life well-lived looks like.

  • And that, I think, is an idea worth spreading.

  • (Applause)

Wasn't Bred fantastic?

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【TEDx】TEDxSydney - Nigel Marsh - Work Life Balance is an Ongoing Battle

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/05/28
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