Venn Diagramming Life

Life is the sum of the parts, but that doesn’t mean it can’t seem like more. If you’ve been on the planet for a few decades there are probably periods in your life where things flowed so easily life seemed effortless and even magical. Other times it may have seemed like an unending torture. How do you find the path to that easy life?

Unfortunately, the current path of least resistance is rarely the best guide. It will lead to a fleeting local improvement but may very well end up in a dead-end with no easy way out and prevent you from ever reaching a global maximum. Your relationships, values, beliefs, jobs, interests, goals, and a host of other factors create your experience in life and finding a way to balance them all is the key to a good life. .

Using Venn diagrams where each circle represents a significant factor in life, the best and easiest life exists in the intersection of all that have any significance to you. In this very simplified example, #1 could be your wife, #2 children, #3 goals, #4 career, and #5 recreation. If everything is properly aligned, there is a sweet spot available where each in some way reinforces the others, and none takes so much away from another that there is no longer an intersection:

If nothing ever changes in your life, it’s just that easy. Otherwise, the factors and their intersection are an ever-moving target. Later in life the kids move away, former goals are no longer as important, the career is almost over, and recreation takes a more prominent role. But there is still an intersection of all parts of life. You wife won’t go base jumping off skyscrapers but bungee jumping may work. It’s a different balance, but life is still good:

Problems start when things shift too far or a new element is added that no longer allows all the elements to intersect. For some, trading may be element #6. It may fit with goals, career and recreation – if you enjoy the trading process, but trading may also turn you into an emotional wreck and take too much time away from your family and other things you enjoy:

What are the options? Either change your style of trading to be more congruent with the rest of your life or stop trading. The solution is easy, but recognition is often a problem. Other choices in life aren’t as easy to solve. Many men add a mistress because something is missing from the rest of life. But unless everyone agrees to a free love commune there is no intersection possible until some element is sufficiently adapted or eliminated. Figure out which element is the outlier and what positives it’s giving you and then find another way to get them that’s more aligned with the rest of your life.

The worst case is where almost none of the elements of life can be in agreement. A person’s life is in such chaos they are a danger to themselves and others:

I’ve worked with a few people who fit this category and they were always accidents waiting to happen. So much so, I didn’t want to be anywhere near them. Whether due to their subconscious trying to fix everything without conscious consultation or due to poor decision-making skills and impulse control, people in this state are frequently unable to get things on track. If you are in this situation, change something. Pick the easiest to improve and start there, even if it’s only the sequence used to put on your shoes. Get more sleep. Your life is a mess and you need all the energy you can to address it.

The big decisions in life always seem to involve two or more factors that are of near equal importance which don’t play well together. But this isn’t a given, it’s most often the result of prior choices and actions. Choices are often put off, or the need to make a choice goes unrecognized, until life has drifted into substantial conflict and drastic actions start seeming reasonable. Be proactive. Think of all the elements of your personal Venn diagram and how they intersect. By striving to keep them in balance, making small adjustments as you go, and always thinking of that sweet spot where everything flows easily, you’ll stay much closer to the right path as you blunder through the twists and turns of life.

Make no mistake, despite how it might appear, everyone blunders through life. The trick to making your own luck and creating a good life is largely in putting yourself in situations where good things happen. Whether you call that the right path, the easy life, the good life, or being one lucky bastard, X marks that spot.

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2 thoughts on “Venn Diagramming Life

  1. Pingback: 12 Months Later | Mortality Sucks

  2. Pingback: Finding An Edge in Life | Mortality Sucks

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