This excerpt from Tom Hopkins book, “The Official Guide to Success” is a little long but worth the read. Enjoy!

The most powerful word in the English language is balance. Work hard. That’s fine. Then balance your hard work with activities that have nothing to do with work.

Thousands of the most effective people on the planet maintain a state of balance that allows them to increase their mental and physical health and increase their earning power at the same time. Their secret is that they stay loose and relaxed as they work and then they devote time to quality recreation.

Some high achievers balance hard work with hard play on a daily basis.If you have the strength of mind to manage it, this is a great method. When you’re earning lots of money doing something you love, it isn’t easy to make yourself walk away from all that excitement every day for something as intangible as maintaining balance. This requires a higher order of self-discipline.

Keeping your balance on a daily basis means that you must put non-work commitments ahead of work commitments for part of every day. There’s no way around this. Whether it’s being with your loved ones, working out at the gym, meeting your spiritual needs, or enjoying a hobby, maintaining your equilibrium must become your priority during the hours you assign to those non-work activities.

Doubling up on activities can help you achieve balance. For example, have your child ride his or her bike along with you as you jog; meet a loved one for lunch; re-program your mind and schedule so you can work effectively at home a few weekdays each month if at all possible. By working at home, you can devote your early morning prep and commute time to the family instead.

There are ways to be with your friends and family more often if you’ll use your ingenuity to find them. Keep at it. The penalties for losing equilibrium with your loved ones can quickly cancel out everything you’ve earned by working too hard for too long.

It’s so easy to let your life get out of balance. I can coach you here because I’ve been out of balance many times. Every time I slip out of balance, one of two things happen:
1. I recognize what’s going on quickly and push my life back into balance before any serious damage is done
2. I stay out of balance too long and have penalties to pay before I can get myself back into balance.

My experiences with losing equilibrium aren’t unique—this is a universal challenge. It can afflict anyone because there are as many ways to fall out of balance as there are things to do. You’re out of balance when your clothes don’t fit around the waist anymore; when you start dealing with challenges by drinking yourself to sleep; when you bet the rent money at the races or on the lottery; when you miss too many fun activities with friends or relatives; when just you don’t like yourself.

You’re out of balance when you can’t say, “I was wrong;” when you won’t say, “I love you;” when you don’t say, “Let’s work this out.” You’re out of balance when you can’t hug your kids because you’re working 70 hours a week. You’re out of balance when you’re not working effectively, when you can’t laugh at yourself, or when you don’t feel worthy of respect.

If you stay out of balance long enough—sometimes it doesn’t take long at all—you’ll run into trouble. Unfortunately, getting into trouble doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be rocked back into balance. More often than not, paying a penalty for being out of balance simply leads you to another form of imbalance–unless you dedicate yourself to getting into and maintaining balance more often than not.

We all punch the time clock at the business of keeping our physical and emotional equilibrium intact, just to survive, first of all. Secondly, before we’re capable of delivering a superior performance for more than a few months, we have to get into balance within ourselves and work at staying that way. No one can do this for you. Before you can have balance, you must want it. And you must be willing to pay for it with some of that precious stuff called time.

If these words touched a nerve, or resonated with you, consider reading the rest of the book. Get the hard cover version here for $17. Also available on Kindle.