I’ve had this crazy notion for as long as I can remember, which is the driving force behind my pursuit of a balanced life. I have believed for a long-time that we are all given equal amounts of victories and defeats; benefits and drawbacks; lucky breaks and bad ones.
When the final score comes in, you’ve had just as many of one as you had the other. Now, that’s not to say you won’t have a string of bad luck…but that would have been preceded or followed by some good things.
I was reminded of this theory by an article on a famous person who, on the surface, appears to have it all. Penny LeGate is a long-time Seattle TV fixture. If you’ve lived in the area for a while, you might remember her from the early days of the TV magazine shows, or doing the news on channel 7. Again, looking at her and her career, you’d be tempted to think, “Man, what a lucky woman!” But she’s had some darkness in her life to balance out all the bright lights. You can read that article here.
And so the pattern has continued over the years. Take any high-profile person and the higher the profile, it seems, the greater the challenges and darkness they’ve had to face. Babe Ruth was dropped off at an orphanage as “incorrigible” by his dad. Abraham Lincoln’s wife was a certified mental case. O.J. Simpson had a daughter drown in a swimming pool shortly before her second birthday. Marie Osmond had a son that committed suicide by leaping to his death. All of these people achieved greatness, but in the balance of life, does great achievement always come with great personal tragedy?
If you lead a more balanced, more neutral, “less great” life, does that mean the tragedies in your life won’t be as bad? I don’t have the answer, I just have the thought. I know that, over the years, I have wondered if I self-limited my achievements in order to subconsciously protect myself or those around me. I don’t have the killer, win-at-all-cost instinct. Buried inside me is the belief that the good guys win, doing the right thing is best for all in the long run, and that karma comes back to bite those who push their way through.
Maybe some day I’ll find out if my theory is true. Then people will probably say, “What an amazing theory!” and greatness will follow. But, if my theory is true, that would mean that great sadness would come along with it. So, I suppose, I’m hoping my theory is wrong.
And that brings us back to “doe.”