The Five Balls of Life

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The former CEO of Coca-Cola Brian Dyson once gave a speech detailing an analogy of how our life is a game of juggling five balls. Four balls are made of glass and represent family, health, friends, and soul. One ball is made of rubber and represents work.

Once we drop one of the glass areas of life, it won't return to its original form.* However, in work, we can readily rebound.

The older I grow, the more I agree with this sentiment.

I now think of these two things when I feel overwhelmed with work and study:

  • There are other important things to value and balance in life than just work and study.
  • We run forever on the hedonic treadmill. Achievements only bring temporary happiness. It’s sometimes important to dial back and be aware of your present self, how you are feeling, and whether you are happy with your current life.

*Well, one can melt glass to mend it back to its prior state. But that takes a lot more time and energy when compared to not dropping it to begin with. Plus, glass formulations are getting pretty strong nowadays. The analogy may have to change in the future.

A couple of years ago, I remember seeing multiple pages attributing this speech to the CEO of Google. Upon checking this, I found that it was a misattribution committed by multiple pages.

I was so certain I wrote a note detailing the misattribution. I seem to have lost it. Although, in the process of digging through my note database, I found some old, lost gold. Praise rediscovery.

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