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The Art Of Balance

There are two great disciplines in art that stand opposite one another.

And you can throw the concept at business or any other endeavor you choose. It sticks. And rather than being a master of one or the other, having a balance between them is what’s truly awe inspiring.

Walking past a gallery, I saw a print in the window. It was a painting by Italian artist Pino called First Glance. It stopped me cold. I always like it when that happens.

First Glance by Pino

The Two Great Disciplines

Maybe we should call them gifts. But regardless, they stand opposite each other and most works of art lean towards one or the other. Most artists do one better than the other …

1. Precision

Detail, exactness, realism. Precision is all about space. And capturing that space in perfect detail with line and color. If you’ve ever drawn something and had someone look at it dog-eared and ask “What is it?”, you missed the precision of capturing the space.

At it’s best and most extreme, a precise representation is easily recognized. It’s also dead and dormant.

2. Life

This is harder to pin down. But the easiest way to understand it is as motion. Time. While a very detailed painting captures a single moment in time with no measureable value, a painting full of life captures a moment and a bit. It takes you there.

Hold your hand out rock-steady. Watch it for a few seconds. It barely moves, but move it does. That’s life.

Just like with precision, life has it’s flaws. By itself it’s a blur. There’s nothing recognizeable in it.

Balancing Space And Time

The balance of these two elements is what makes some of the greatest pieces of art in history what they are. It’s something that artists, maybe unknowingly, strive to achieve. Some do.

You might have heard the phrase “It ain’t no David“. It means something is less than perfect. Which means it’s out of balance.

In everything we do, there are compromises. There’s a balance in business between quality and efficiency. There’s a balance for athletes between strength and stamina. There’s a balance between work and play. Between free abandon and a common good.

These compromises are not compromises at all. They’re balance.

And to really get things done, to be the best at what you do, there has to be balance.

Denouement
 

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8 Comments

  1. Balance is everything, in order for one to find inspiration, be more productive and enjoy life more, there has to be balance. Focusing is great, but say you focus on work too much, personal life will suffer, so you have to always make sure to keep everything balanced. I really like the way you put the “time and space” thing. Being a musician i can totally see what you mean and it reminds me of everytime thre is balance, everything seems to flow naturally. That feels great, the only reason i play music is for moments like these! :)

  2. Very true. Those who can’t find balance in life, seem to be those with the most problems. I’m sure the same is true in business.

  3. Hey Jon,

    A good balance brings a well rounded view with it. Focus is important but even that needs balance – too much focus and it turns into tunnel vision.

    Anthony,

    It’s very true in business. There’s always a little war going on between a quality department and a production department, or between how much inventory and infrastructure to purchase vs how much your sales can pay for.

    All these things need to be balanced or else the business can find itself in real trouble.

  4. It is very easy to punish yourself for establishing balance in your life. For too long it has been considered negative to take weekends off work, or even to leave the office during a lunch break.

    I think a public crusade needs to be started to encourage the return of balance!

    - Martin Reed

  5. Hey Martin,

    Having a good balance is so important. I make it a personal crusade and encourage everyone to take time out and “bring something new back”.

    Hour for hour, a company gets better performance and has happier, more engaged people that have more to offer and contribute.

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