I enjoyed reading “To Pixar and Beyond” by Lawrence Levy – Steve Job’s right hand man in establishing this $7b business over 10 years.
He left to set up the Juniper Organisation in San Francisco to enlighten people on a modern tilt at Eastern Meditation and practices, taking on a 100 year business plan!
The Middle Way is a theory that describes the two people inside us fighting each other over diametrically opposed philosophies. The first is the bureaucrat and the second the artist of free spirit. The bureaucrat is there to get things done – you know:- lists, order, stability, rules, efficiency and performance (certainly something I can relate to) and the artist cares about joy, love, adventure and spontaneity, creativity and feeling connected and alive.
Levy says that the insight of the Middle Way is that becoming stuck in either one of these states or philosophies leads to frustration. Being focused on function, accumulation and performance makes us wonder if we have truly lived.
On the other hand if we are living freely and are always engaging our passions we may not feel well-grounded and be frustrated at the lack of achievement.
The Middle Way suggests the best outcome arises from a blend of these two sides. This requires us to look beyond our current conventions and move outside our comfort zone.
For me this describes a big part of my life to date. In my career so far I have been very focused on achievement and the bureaucrat has dictated many of my actions. Building businesses and accumulating things has been a big part of my life.
But of course no one on their death bed (hopefully not me yet!!) would say they wanted more time at the office. People and relationships always seem to be the more important thing.
“Life balance” is probably another way of describing the Middle Way. Have I spent enough time with my family over the years? Was I there when needed? Have I kept in touch with my friends and family to maintain meaningful relationships?
What I have noticed since the diagnosis of my illness is that family and friends have leapt to the forefront and business has certainly taken a back stage. (I am fortunate in that I have business partners who are able to keep things going without my day to day involvement).
However the really important things seem to be the people around me. It has been fabulous to have so many people make contact with me – through my blog or directly. And our weekends are a constant source of enjoyment with visitors from all parts of Australia who ‘just happen to be in Melbourne”
A huge positive from my illness has been the re-connection with so many friends and the close support from my extended family.