The world’s richest man has very little free time, we can assume. Amazon is the swelling colossus of the digital marketplace and the boss has no time for chores.
Not, so as an article in Business Insider tells us ‘Historically, the world’s richest man has a non-traditional approach to work: He makes time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still sets aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.’
Here we see an example of how Bezos’ own approach to working and living is vastly different from the work-life balance we are told to strive for. Bezos believes that it’s the word ‘balance’ that causes the most problem as the word itself implies a trade off. Put frankly, implicit within having a balance means that you are somehow sacrificing something in order to have a plentiful amount of something else.
If we approach work and life as one and the same then there is no trade off. You shouldn’t be working so you can live, in Bezos’ view, as there is an implication that enjoyment can only be found in one of those places. Most human beings believe the experience of joy to be what makes life worth living but that can be found anywhere and if you allow it, even in a job you may not feel particularly energised in, there are positives that make it worth doing.
In short, actions should have intrinsic value rather than just seen as prerequisites to some delayed payoff. If we take each day as a gift and live positively then we can expect to take the tremendous energy we create to other parts of our lives. If we have a happy experience at home then we can expect to bring that happiness into work and have a productive day.
Some people might believe that this is the road towards imbalance but balance for balance’s sake should be discouraged as you will neglect to address urgent issues for the sake of having ‘worked enough’ or ‘lived enough’. There might be times when your peace at home means you have time on your hands to work but fear of being a workaholic might limit you. If you consider that working hard doesn’t have to mean neglecting your family, you may find yourself feeling freer and funnily enough, balanced.
The approach to life that Jeff Bezos has is a holistic one. The biggest lie in life is that things are separate from one another when really the word ‘life’ encompasses everything that exists- everything you do whilst you breathe is living. Work isn’t the counterweight to your life; it’s simply a part of it. Working is living and living is working.