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  • 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)

  • Now that was the advice

  • that St. 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 that classic corporate warrior --

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

  • I was working too hard

  • and I was neglecting the 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 learned 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've spent these seven years since

  • struggling with, studying

  • and writing about work-life balance.

  • And I have four observations

  • I'd like to share with you today.

  • The first is:

  • if society's to make any progress on this issue,

  • we need an 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.

  • Now 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're 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's my contention that going to work on Friday in jeans and [a] T-shirt

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

  • (Laughter)

  • The second observation I'd like to make

  • is we need to face the truth

  • that governments and corporations

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

  • We should stop looking outside.

  • It's 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's particularly important --

  • this isn't on the World Wide Web, is it? I'm about to get fired --

  • it's particularly important

  • that you never put the quality of your life

  • in the hands of a commercial corporation.

  • Now I'm not talking here just about the bad companies --

  • the "abattoirs of the human soul," as I call them.

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm talking about all companies.

  • Because commercial companies

  • are inherently designed

  • 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's a nightmare --

  • it 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.

  • 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 a 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.

  • 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've got no mates or interests left."

  • (Laughter)

  • A day is too short; "after I retire" is too long.

  • There's got to be a middle way.

  • A fourth observation:

  • We need to approach balance

  • in a balanced way.

  • A friend came to see me last year --

  • and she doesn't mind me telling this story -- a friend came to see me last year

  • and said, "Nigel, I've read your book.

  • And I realize that my life is completely out of balance.

  • It's totally dominated by work.

  • I work 10 hours a day; I commute two hours a day.

  • All of my relationships have failed.

  • There's nothing in my life

  • apart from my work.

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

  • So I joined a gym."

  • (Laughter)

  • Now I don't mean to mock,

  • but being a fit 10-hour-a-day office rat

  • isn't more balanced; it's more fit.

  • (Laughter)

  • Lovely though physical exercise may be,

  • there are other parts to life --

  • there's the intellectual side; there's the emotional side;

  • there's the spiritual side.

  • And to be balanced,

  • I believe we have to attend

  • to all of those areas --

  • not just do 50 stomach crunches.

  • Now that can be daunting.

  • Because people say, "Bloody hell mate, I haven't got time to get fit.

  • 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" --

  • Harry -- "up from school."

  • Because 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 cafe,

  • and we shared a pizza for two,

  • then walked down the hill to our home,

  • and I gave him his bath

  • and put him in his Batman pajamas.

  • 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,

  • 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)

What I thought I would do

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A2 US TED balance life balance life work life laughter

【TED】Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work (How to make work-life balance work | Nigel Marsh)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/05/22
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