We all want balance. We have heard the sayings about how having a more balanced life results in longer and happier lives. Not only have we heard of what a balanced life does, but we have also created mental pictures of what a balanced life looks like.

While creating these pictures can be a good thing, it can also paint an unrealistic picture of how life should be. These pictures sometimes are closely compared to those whom you idolize or compare yourself to.

And what happens when you are not happy? Your body is unhappy. Your health goes downhill which affects every part of your life. I once read a successful CEO’s autobiography who said he never wanted his gravestone to say, “He never missed a meeting” rather than “He was a great father” or “He was a great mentor.”

It is scary that that example made me take a step and look at my life and my health. What would my gravestone say? “Anna was always on time” or “Anna was impeccably organized.” How touching. How impactful.

Think about it. What do you want to be known by?

Find that something and live by it each and every day. In essence, balance is another way of allowing you to become a better version of yourself. Being successful does not necessarily mean it has to come at the expense of your well-being. Approach balance in a balanced way. What I have found most helpful is making the small things matter. Balance does not have to mean a dramatic revolution in your life. Small investments here and there can radically improve relationships and therefore your quality of life.

Let’s redefine success in today’s society to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life worth living looks like rather than the portrayal that the person with the most money wins. In reality we all know that person was more miserable than someone with $0 in savings.

It is up to you. Create your own picture of balance with a stroke for family, a stroke for a friend, for food, a book, your work, your travels or a stroke for love. It is your life. Paint what makes you happy. Whether you paint with your fingers or a lavish fan brush, do as you please. And most of all make balance a function, not just a feeling. If you lack the initiative to create your own painting, someone just might design it for you, and you may dislike how that artist designed it. So be your own artist. Paint your own picture. And most of all do it in a balanced way.

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Anna Schott is a senior journalism and mass communications student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Continuously capturing the small joys in life, Anna is in the process of following her passions and working diligently to check off that bucket list box “Be super successful.” As a go-getter, enthusiastic millennial, she plans on broadening her horizons after graduation while keeping her Midwestern values close to heart. Anna continues to find time to write and enjoy her love of the outdoors.

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