The Principle of Balanced Effort
is your success blocked by trying too hard?


Human beings love to be in control!

We love to ensure that our needs will be met and to prevent nasty undesirable things happening. This can lead us to put (invest) great effort into activities and agendas that create the kind of life or the kind of world that we desire. Sometimes we become so focussed on having what we need that we become addicted to particular activities, or neglect important other things.

Being out of balance or off-balance can affect organisations and societies as well as individuals.

However, The science of Chaos Theory tells us that orderly systems always contain a certain amount of chaos (even non-human systems!) and that, conversely, chaotic situations, no matter how random and chaotic they appear on the surface, always contain an element of orderliness.

Thus both Chaos Theory and ancient Zen Buddhist wisdom promote the concept of "balanced effort".

Balanced effort basically means that if we try too hard we shoot ourselves in the foot, while if we try too little we don't hit anything at all. In Chaos Theory terms, this means that undue repression of chaos actually stimulates it.

How can this be? Surely the harder we try the more we will achieve?

Actually - no. First of all there is a universal and commonsense law called the "Law of Diminishing Returns". This predicts that as we put effort (energy) into an action or strategy or physical system, the results achieved will initially escalate, then reach a plateau of escalation after which they still increase, but at a decreasing rate. What this means is that putting in more and more extra effort produces less additional result. A serious problem then arises because we are putting so much effort into a narrowly focussed activity, that other areas of our life, work or relationships start to suffer.

As we invest excessively in one or more areas of life it is usual for other areas suffer - usually including important things that "nourish" (support) us materially, emotionally, energetically or spiritually. Eventually we become increasingly dysfunctional so that even the results we are most focussed on achieving may start to fail.

When we "overdo" things we can also run into "resistance" from people or other worldly phenomena. Resistance arises from the fact that many ecosystems (including human nature) have an intrinsic balance, which if upset (stretched) too far produces a natural counteracting reaction - actively resisting the unbalanced person or activity.

Living or working in an unbalanced pattern is a quick route to exhaustion and burnout

The alternative is to live in a centred (meditative) way. See UK Holistic Lifestyle Courses

USEFUL TOOLS for balanced living are:


click an image for details of relevant books...
The 12 Principles of the Work We Were Born to Do by Nick Williams Chaos - Making a New Science by James Gleick, and Michael Jackson Does God Play Dice, the New Mathematics of Chaos  by Ian Stewart Strategy-Focused Organization - How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business environment The 12 Principles of the Work We Were Born to Do book by Nick Williams




*What to Do when thrown Off Balance by: Irritating People!

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