How To Get a Hot Air Balloon With a Pink Unicorn On It

How To Get a Hot Air Balloon With a Pink Unicorn On It

Last week I introduced the three elements of a balanced life – sweetness, structure, and space – which we discuss in our upcoming book, The Well Life. My previous article was titled, “Why Sweet Stuff is Actually Good for You.” To everyone who excitedly emailed me that you were glad to get a doctor’s endorsement to double up on the Pop Tarts and Smarties, go back and read the whole thing!

Essentially, I explained that the sweet stuff in life – playing, hanging with friends, taking baths, eating good food, doing yoga, etc. – shouldn’t be considered a special occasion. When sweetness is deliberately incorporated into every day, it nourishes us, it strengthens us, and it transforms our relationship with time. Rather than aiming for someday when everything will be just right, the sweetness of life is now.

Incorporating more sweetness depends on our ability to build healthy structure. As we have expanded our conception of health to incorporate more of what people are able to do with their lives, we’ve noticed that structure is a challenge for almost everyone. Every goal, from the smallest to the grandest, requires structure to get from point A to point B.

Some of our clients try to avoid structure altogether, because they believe it’s restrictive. Or they take the Law of Attraction to mean that everything comes from thought, and therefore, structure and work are needless or misguided.

Other clients use structure, but not always in the way that would be most efficient or fulfilling. Perhaps their structures for fulfillment haven’t really changed from childhood – they’ve become more complicated, but underneath it all, they’re based on inefficient mechanisms.

When we’ve examined the structures people are using to create successful, happy, and meaningful lives, we’ve realized most people lack useful training in life architecture. We’ve seen structures like a bridge made of clothesline suspended over a canyon – it seems to span the distance, but lacks support. Making it across would depend on a massive amount of personal effort, focus, and luck. Other structures were more like a concrete pipe over a chasm – sturdier to walk through, but at the expense of any enjoyment along the way. Still other structures were like complicated tangles of trusses, cables, and parapets – more likely to get the traveler lost and confused than to their destination.

It’s beyond the scope of a single article to teach you how to craft intelligent and graceful life structures, but here are a few thoughts. Structuring your life in a conscious way inevitably means recognizing and abandoning structural elements that are “not to code” – extraneous, unsound, impinging on other needs, etc. Remember, a full life and a complicated life are very different things. Complicated structural habits can make a person feel overwhelmed when they only have two things to get done in a day. Likewise, the (possibly subconscious) pursuit of outdated desires can lead to structures that are bizarrely circuitous – until you root out that old dream of being the Roller Derby Queen and … (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s the outdated pursuit or the one that’s about to take the forefront).

You’ve heard many times that happiness is a journey, not a destination. The same is true for life architecture. Sure, we want you to get to point B. But why take the boring sidewalk there when you could dance across lily pads or ride in a hot air balloon with a giant, pink unicorn on it? Why not find a way to get there that involves doing something beautiful with the resources you’re given? Why not take a path that enables you to use your gifts? Why not choose a vehicle that’s aligned with your life purpose? Why not find a way to get there that helps and inspires others along the way? Just imagine them, pointing up at you and shouting, “Look, there’s the Roller Derby Queen in that hot air balloon with the pink unicorn on it, and she’s putting out the forest fire!”

I know you can do it,

Dr. Peter Borten

Some of the material in this newsletter was excerpted from our upcoming book, The Well Life, published by Adams Media. Sign up here to be notified when it comes out!

  • Holly Parsons
    Posted at 08:16h, 16 March Reply

    You had me until you offered examples, this last one “Look, there’s the Roller Derby Queen in that hot air balloon with the pink unicorn on it, and she’s putting out the forest fire!”
    She may be orchestrating the firefighting but she’s not extinguishing anything – not while floating above, detached with no resources that remotely resemble tons of water . Is this caricature supposed to be the hook?
    Is this what you think your readership wants to attain? Yes, women are the big market. This caricature trivializes

    • Peter Borten
      Posted at 20:51h, 16 March Reply

      I’m sorry you feel that way, Holly. I’m just trying to keep it light and humorous. I would imagine there are very few people who want to attain this particular scenario (my 8 year old daughter would probably be one of them), which is why I thought it was safe territory. Raising and supporting strong, ambitious women is the most cherished of the work I do.
      Be well,

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