“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Having at one time been borderline obese, I confess to intermittent zealousness about diet and exercise. Evolving from the extreme position often necessary to changing your life to a more sustainable posture poses an unending challenge. But indeed moderation is truly a virtue that is sensible in most, if not all, aspects of life. Let’s look at it through the Three Pillars of Fitness.
Physical Realm. There seems to be broad agreement that sleeping too little can cause a range of problems from lack of focus to weight gain. But too much sleep may lead to diabetes, heart disease, increased risk of death, and could be indicative of depression.
Drastic diets can help you lose weight quickly but are ineffective for long-term maintenance and nutrition. Protein-heavy diets dehydrate your body. Vegetarianism can cause protein-deficiency. Very low-fat diets deprive the body of its ability to store energy, adjust temperature, and lubricate tissue.
Lack of exercise is bad for your health, but many health professionals advise that extreme regimens like P90X are harmful by unnecessarily stressing the body.
With your finances, you should strike a balance between funding your current cash flow needs and saving for the future.
When investing, a portfolio diversifying risks and terms commensurate with your stage in life is universally recommended. Being opposed to debt probably means you will not buy a house.
Recognizing many children have been destroyed by inheritances, should you donate your wealth to a worthy cause? Yet, if you follow Andrew Carnegie’s advice, leaving nothing to your children, are you sure the organization to which you leave it will follow your wishes?
In your leisure pursuits and entertainment, are extremes wise? With extreme sports comes increased risk of extreme injuries, even among top athletes. People lose their jobs by staying up all night playing online games and being late for work. Recreation and diversion are healthy, danger and mania are not.
Is there anyone more boring than the person so immersed in a hobby he thinks everyone is as fascinated with Cirripedology (the study of barnacles) as he is? The line between passion and obsession is fine. When your friends’ eyes glaze over you have crossed it.
Moderation is Essential to Sustaining the Physical Pillar of Fitness
Mental Realm. To be emotionally sound requires well-developed cognitive skills, moored self-esteem so you can be balanced in your societal habituation, and psychological resilience that supports you through the emotion roller collar called life. Extremity impairs development of these skills.
When approaching societal engagement, enduring friendships require a balance of empathy and self-concern between two people. Beyond your close circle, the demands of a larger community can engulf you. But sacrificing yourself to such claims, without periodic self-care, will eventually retard or prevent your community service.
Pets provide companionship and opportunity for stewardship. But infatuation with a pet can hinder the ability to forge human ties and their accompanying growth.
Intellectual challenge stimulates the mind. But obsession with such activities, be it reading, education, or avocation poses the same danger as that of an obsessive hobby, often at the cost of not exercising or engaging socially.
Definitionally, Moderation is Crucial for Sustaining the Mental Pillar of Fitness
Spiritual Realm. Does G-d want a moderate relationship with you? This is a complex, intensely personal question. Your love for G-d, like His for you, should be limitless. A strong connection entails balance among prayer, fulfillment of duties, and engagement in rituals. Should you reject the secular world? According to my faith no, but I would not argue with those of other faiths who disagree.
Familial relationships also challenge the question of moderation. You should love your spouse, parents, and children without limit, abusive situation excepted. In other areas, such as material support and giving advice, restraint is wise. But unbounded love does not preclude having to say no.
“Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” ~ Thomas Paine
With core values, I agree with Paine. Having once compromised your principles it can become habitual. Have you engaged in the process of identification, articulation, practice, and assessment? Principal among my values is humility. Discourse, not imposition, enlightens.
G-d, Family, and Core Values Are Exceptions to Moderation in the Spiritual Pillar of Fitness
Moderation applies even to moderation, love and core values being the exceptions. As you instill new habits and take on new vistas to conquer, the tendency to excess is tempting. By keeping moderation as a value you keep your life in balance, sustain relationships, and are truly #LivingIntentionally.
Where do you think moderation does not apply?
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