The secret to living a more content life: Create margin
Just about everything in our lives has a boundary. Sometimes these limits are easy to spot. Your car engine for instance has a green and red area. You can stay in the green all day long, but you can only let the engine redline for so long before it will give you a problem.
Using the same analogy we find ourselves way overwhelmed with work commitments and run ragged with so many social other engagements that we thought were worthy of our time. At the end though we get stressed out because we have no room for ourselves. No down time for getting enough rest and letting our body and soul regain strength. We have managed doing so much and yet achieve so little. That is what I would consider leading a marginless life.
Would you want reading a book that has no margin? Imagine pages with no white space at all? Isn’t that what some of us experience? Sure, 5-Hour-Energy shots and other performance boosters may help us gain an edge here or there, but fact is that in the long run this will not help getting out of the big rat race. Whether its popping pills, or gulping down energy drinks, there is no escaping our natural boundaries. Leaving no margin will catch up with us.
One effective way to combat this severe issue is learning when and how to say no. There are 6 key areas of life that you can go through one by one identifying what you will do and where you will install future stops. That is the beginning of creating the white space on your life’s book pages and thus keep running your engine in the green.
- Health: You have only got one life and that will have to do. Would this have been number 1 on your list? No worries, I used to not think so either. What areas of your health are without margin anymore? How can you slowly but surely improve it? Small steps toward wellness lead to great and long lasting results.
- Relationships: It has been proven over and over again that a healthy social life will let you live longer. Do you have enough time set aside for meeting with old friends and making new ones? Nurturing these bonds pays huge dividends – for your friends and you. How happy are you with the quantity and quality of friendships? Is having no margin the reason why you are not doing better here?
- Spirituality: It takes a good portion of time connecting with your purpose and a greater sense of being. Connecting to the world and God through solitude and meditation lets you make quantum leaps in personal and spiritual growth. Do not miss out on it due to not having enough margin.
- Intellect: Education plays a key role in how content you feel and the choices you make every day. Choose education, read like a fool, learn another language, be curious about anything and anyone that interests you. Does this take time and effort? Certainly. If it is all part of your increasing margin plan you will cut through this like a hot knife through butter.
- Money: How secure is your income? Do you have debt? Do you have enough wiggle room for emergencies to hit you squarely in the forehead? Time to take inventory and creating a plan how to get you back in the green (better: margin).
- Career: If career is so important and we spent so much time there, why is it at the end of this list? The answer is really simple: Figure out the other top 5 points and you will know two things. For one you will be able aligning your values and purpose with work. Secondly, the career advancement and money almost all but takes care of itself. Can you prove me wrong with this one?
This is no time to stress out about not having enough of a margin in your life now. Today’s car engines are well built and typically handle redlining for a while. So, even though you may be getting to the point of self-destruction and exhaustion it is never too late reviewing your priorities. I am hoping that the six point list may help guide you towards a better life. Learn how to “no” so you will end up with more margin in your life.