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Virtus Blog #33 – The Pendulum Effect

We are all human (I hope). We all make mistakes. We all have problems.

None of this is new information. But when we have a problem, or make a mistake, we do our best to correct the problem, or fix the mistake. We take responsibility for our struggles and frustrations and have a crack at making it better. Occasionally, we are too close to the problem to understand how big of an issue it is, so it takes a big event or argument to realise and by then, it can be too late. It becomes unfixable. What I want to talk about today is the importance of self awareness and your ability to step back and see the problem before that happens.

I want you to look at any issue you have like a pendulum. The middle point is balance. You’re centred, life is peaceful, there is nothing wrong, it’s exactly where you need to be. However, as we know, the nature of a pendulum is to swing from side to side, this is a perfect analogy for our problems.

Let’s give an example from my life. I work hard, I’m proud of that, I enjoy to work hard and to spend more time than I have giving myself to my work and all of the people in it. What I’m starting to realise, that if i push to hard, if i continue to burn the candle at both ends I’ll burn out (again) and when that happens I’m no use to anyone, especially myself. When I’m starting to become aware of this problem, I shift my thinking and overcorrect. I take more time for myself, I check my email less, I spend less time on ‘work’ and more time with me. Unfortunately, this leads to a pile of responsibilities and obligations banked up from taking it easy for a few weeks. Then back to working too much I go.

  • Working too much is the top of one side of the pendulum swing.

  • Perfect balance is the centre.

  • Too much time spent ‘working in’ is the opposite side of the swing.

I’m not saying you need to find ‘perfect balance’ that doesn’t exist. you can try, but life will show you that staying there is practically impossible. This is where it’s important to be self aware enough to understand our patterns. If i’m starting to feel tired, fatigued, I’ll do my best to become aware enough to change my behaviour and shift the pendulum swing the other way. I know I’ll overcorrect, but that’s life. There’s no finish line, it’s a swinging pendulum. Understand that you’ll overcorrect, and use the momentum of the swing to help you get where you need to be.

To your swing.


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