Management Tips

Can Cigars, the Three F’s and a Leprechaun help us with Moderation?

I have three vices in my life:

  • I love wine.
  • I love beer.
  • I love scotch and what goes really well with scotch?

That’s right! A Cohiba, baby!

I also love my job but unlike the other vices listed above I need to enjoy that one EVERY DAY. If I enjoyed my vices as much as I enjoy my job then I likely wouldn’t enjoy either, anymore.

Moderation is like that.

The things you love (pizza, steak, meatball subs) which we all know are sometimes bad for us go the same for the things that are not necessarily seen as bad for us like exercise, sleep or relaxation. If you overdo either one of them then you will certainly have a definite imbalance in your life.

So, balance is highly dependent on moderation. Yahoo, just jumped on that LOGIC train. It’s leaving the station NOW. Don’t miss out.

Balance is a touchy subject because sometimes people who don’t necessarily treat their lives with balance when it comes to their careers are seen as highly successful and to make matters worse these people are usually touted as the gurus of their trade. Think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and The Beatles all of whose single minded drive, unending focus and practice made them stand out in the world as extreme examples of uber-success. These examples can drive the rest of us to push ourselves to emulate their success. The one thing that is almost always overlooked, just like the typical story of the overnight success, is that their fame and fortune never comes easy and the key to their success, notwithstanding their brilliance and life changing ideas, is time.

Besides we all know the TRUE overnight success is a myth.

Does it ever happen? Sure on the rare occasion it does it’s just like a shooting star; here today gone tomorrow. The true overnight success really lacks any type of real substance just the one hit wonder lacks any type of real integrity.

How long does it take then? Who knows? If you do, let me in. Please.

But if it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert (a la Malcolm Gladwell) what’s the rush? Yeah, ambition is one thing but single minded, all in, do or die might limit your ability to see the bigger picture. As with nuance spending some time to take a look around, try something new and take a break occasionally can help you refocus and potentially help you build a better mousetrap at least Tony Schwartz thinks so. Take your time, take a break and work efficiently toward your goals and remember that some form of renewal is not only necessary but essential.

Moderation in eating right and moderation in vices (hopefully all legal – wink, wink) is really the easy part of our lives to manage or at least I would hope (for both our sakes). Moderation in the pursuit of our dreams is where it gets really hard to manage. The trouble is with recognition; at least it is for me. I sometimes find myself getting too focussed on a single task, initiative or project and end up looking around trying to figure where I am, what time it is and where everyone else has gone. And why am I so damn hungry?

I have to force myself, at times, to stop and really practice what I preach.

There’s a great guy that I read, Jon Acuff, whose sense of humour and sense of self are intoxicating (damn another word that flies in the face of moderation). Jon’s recent book Quitter has some solid tips on moderation. Jon’s point of view is that time is on your side but that you also have to realize what you are doing it for. Check it out. Ask yourself why you are pushing so hard and what you are missing in your life because of it.

And? What are you REALLY missing?

Could it be the three F’s? Family, Friends and Fun. Yup, I made THAT one up and yes, my friend, I am fully aware that there are thousands of three F’s out there. Some of them are actually funny too.

At any rate, offering you help on moderating your lifestyle is not my deal here. You are an intelligent person and you know and have felt the effects of over indulgence. At work or in your career moderation comes in many different disguises and the devil you know will fight you all the way. “Time is of the essence my friend” is the way our world is today and if you are not first out of the gate then you have lost.

It’s a dangerous, dangerous attitude.

Yeah, sure, you can throw the rest of it away and chase that dream hard but at the end the day don’t you really want to share it with someone? If not, go for it and please stop reading this. It’s not for you. Sorry I dragged you through it. My bad, bro. As a matter of fact, why are you even here? See ya!

If you are still here then maybe we can be friends because my dream certainly has time in its schedule to enrich my life with your positive energy and your life experiences.

So let’s go.

Let’s chase our dreams and let’s share our experiences. Let’s enrich our lives with moderation. Let’s try something different occasionally and let’s let those experience feed and nurture our dreams.

But not right now!

We both need to focus on our jobs and move that dream closer to the rainbow. So, the next time you want a bowl of Lucky Charms GO FOR IT. You probably deserve it because you have been working hard and eating well and exercising and sleeping and…..

Do you have any tips for managing balance in your work life?

What do you do to stop yourself and change gears?


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


6 thoughts on “Can Cigars, the Three F’s and a Leprechaun help us with Moderation?

  1. “So, balance is highly dependent on moderation. Yahoo, just jumped on that LOGIC train. It’s leaving the station NOW. Don’t miss out.”

    LOL…so true, and sounds like fortune cookie wisdom (which I take seriously)! Excellent post Ralph. It’s the thing that people secretly want, but are embarrassed to admit. For me anyway. I wouldn’t call myself a workaholic; only people in their 20s have serious social lives, I just love my work. And from a young age (and maybe part of an asian stereotype) I picked up the notion to “practice while others were sleeping”. Success for me is personal; the only person I am trying to be better than is myself. It would never bother me if I was never known for my work because the only person I want to be known by is my partner. And self. I think the primary thing I try to instill in young children, along with encouraging them to discover what their dream might be, is to truly know themselves. Because, by that, you already know the why’s in situations, and can focus on the what to do.

    I believe that our talents are really vehicles for a higher purpose. I believe that if what we did for a living was not dependent on supporting our families, homes, etc, would we still choose to do it? When I win the lottery…I would still show up for work. If I didn’t have the tools to create, I’d exercise my imagination and still sketch with a pencil and paper, and failing that…I’d embed my visions and ideas in my heart for a later date. I love what I do that much.

    We all have the same set of *ingredients*, but don’t all make the best brownies. And in the end, it’s ourselves we are feeding. So, I ask, would you eat what you make?

    Posted by Karen Ng-Hem | February 8, 2012, 11:11
    • Karen,
      That has to be the most challenging of responses that I have received to date. Good stuff. I like the philosophical approach and love the “fortune cookie wisdom” acknowledgement. Not sure if that’s not a slam. Oh, well.

      I agree with what you say, of course. I didn’t think about who you are chasing your dreams for as I have the similar sentiment that you do what you love because you love it. That’s the point. Another topic indeed but one of the reasons I started writing was to get the creativity out and have some fun doing it. I do what I do to primarily help myself. It’s like a sounding board for how I really want to conduct my life and if anyone else gets something out of it that’s a bonus regardless whether there’s a higher purpose or not. The fact that I publicize it makes it real to me and forces me to aboid bullshitting myself.

      Would I eat what I make? I have to afterall I made it and if I don’t eat it no one else should or would for that matter. I agree that you have to be able to know yourself and knowing your limits is important but also limiting in many ways at the same time. By exercizing moderation don’t you think that experiences are so much richer?

      Posted by rdopping | February 8, 2012, 18:37
  2. I think the mistake the Boomers made was that they looked at Work/Life as a battle between two sides and in that one Work always won. Be thankful you have a job dammit – “We used to live in a shoe box in the middle of the road….”

    Gen X’ers lived through the recession years early in their careers (and here we are again) and fear of being laid off drove them to protect themselves by always being seen to be working all the martyr hours. Pretty soon they evolved to one seamless life which is spent working or playing, but again mainly working – even when playing it is almost impossible to distinguish one from the other.

    Gen Y’ers, much to our chagrin, have watched all this with some kind of detached amusement and are teaching us what balance is – Placing significant value on both and dedicating time to each and defending the balance and finding ways to get the job done without hanging around to be seen working – they bugger off and go do something fun as soon as the task is done.
    We slag them off as lazy and entitled (who taught them that though) but deep down maybe we are just jealous!

    Posted by Bill Black | February 10, 2012, 13:12
    • Bill, didn’t think to take the generationla angle. Thanks. I HAVE to remember that when I write because of my firm seat in the Gen X community. Hey, I used to think it was cool to be a Gen X’er (all Douglas Coupland and s**t) but the shine has come off THAT particular apple. Anyway, I don’t think any Gen has an advantage over the other (except maybe the Boomers) and that moderation applies no matter where you are seated. I agree that sometimes the younger Gen Y or Millenials can come off lazy but you know, I work with quite a few, and they work hard. Just smarter in most cases. Maybe that’s the REAL key. Work smart. It’s a common adage and feeds into moderating your goals to success. At least from the Gen Y seat it does.

      Thank you for the discourse. It is certainly good to get some feedback.

      Posted by rdopping | February 11, 2012, 08:42


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