The Perils of All Work and No Play: Finding Balance in Your Life
The final installment of my UCOP revelations series ends on a high note. Today, we're talking about enjoying life and rewarding ourselves for all our hard work. In fact, not celebrating our lives can almost render our work useless. If there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, what's the point of going on the journey in the first place?
Real Life vs. Work/Virtual Life
Despite the fact that my experience at the UCOP helped me make great gains in my poker game and my skills (i.e. Twitch skills, live streaming skills), all this was done in the virtual world.
My real world living suffered a little. I didn't have as much time to spend with important people in my life and I didn't have as much time to do the activities I enjoy because I had to make sure I stuck to schedule, got to bed at a decent hour, and was rested and ready to play every day.
But this is why I'm glad my UCOP challenge was relatively short; I only had to hold in for a matter of days - not months or years. This isn't to say you shouldn't undertake challenges that require longer periods of time; just that you have to make sure you schedule time for sporadic play in the midst of the grind.
And don't get me wrong: the grind is good. The grind is actually awesome, but we can't live in this space.
You want to develop a good work ethic; a good work persona. You just don't want to spend so much time in work world that you forget how to navigate the fun world.
When the UCOP challenge was done, I had specific rewards lined up for myself, and this kept me going; there was a sense of balancing.
It's really all about balancing the 'doing' in the working world, and the 'being' in the real world.
For some people, it's hard to differentiate between 'doing' and 'being', especially in today's society where the pressure to perform is cranked to the max all the time.
The 'being' world is characterized by a lack of stress, worry, and an unfettered ability to just be yourself and enjoy the company of the people you're with, hassle free.
As much exciting and full of seemingly endless opportunities the working and/or virtual world is, it isn't what is going to sustain you long term. You need to get out, interact with nature and like-minded people that don't just exist at work or online.
You've got to reach out and touch something.
Sure, your brain loves the grind - it's addictive, that's why the term 'workalcoholic' exists - but your physical body also needs stimulation.
Forming real connections with real people will allow you to form bonds and create opportunities in the same way that networking at work or meeting people online opens doors.
But they're not mutually exclusive: I've learned that creating value in 'fantasy land' (or the working world), can lead to opportunities in the real world. The key is to take advantage of those opportunities.
An example of this: I got offered a free trip to the Punta Cana Poker Classic this year in exchange for hosting daily workshops for people who want to get in some pre-tournament chats with me. This opportunity was created in 'fantasy land', where I did a lot of hard work and promotion for the site, but it translated into a real world opportunity when organizers invited me to host the workshops.
It was up to me to have the comfort and confidence to step up to plate and know that not only am I up to task, but I deserve it. I deserve a trip to the Caribbean to meet my fans and friends and help them in their quest to be the greatest poker players they can be. I have the 'work' skills, and because I haven't been spending my whole life in front of a computer screen devoid of sentient interaction, I'm also capable of hanging out in real time.
On the flipside, you won’t always have opportunities handed to you: you have to be confident enough to let people know you're open and ready for them. Again, this comes down to confidence.
Remember, the play is why the work is worth it.
My personal reward for battling it out in the UCOP is to take my winnings and invest them in two of my favourite things:
1. Continuing Education. I've signed up for some workshops to better my game. I'll be attending a heads-up sit 'n' go boot camp in Colorado for 10 days (7 days at boot camp, 3 days just relaxing).
Then I'm going to follow this up with my trip to the Punta Cana Poker Classic where I'll spend about two hours a day working and 10 hours a day just straight chillin' and feeling great about all the hard work that's gone into crushing my goals this year. I set the schedule, I stuck to the schedule, I refined the schedule when necessary and I got shit done. That's how I roll.
2. Being in Nature. I'm going to make sure to get out there and enjoy this beautiful world. Life is about breathing it all in, friends.
The final exercise...
Even if you've crapped out of doing the previous six exercises, I want you to do this one. It's important.
Go to the comment section and write down 1-5 things you do for fun. If you can't remember the last time you did any of those things, write down the things you used to do for fun before you got so serious about life and success.
Everyone - myself included - can get caught up in the grind, so by reminding yourself of what fun looks like - for you and other people - it might spark a desire to enjoy more of it.
Life is nothing without rewards.
After you've added to the comments, you know what to do: get out there and get stackin'! Thanks for reading, friends!