The word monochrome, or monochromatic, means, in black and white, or in shades of only one colour. For the purpose of this article let’s use the second definition: in shades of only one colour.
Now, what do I mean by a monochromatic life? One that focuses on just one thing. Or shades of it. For some it could be work, or work-related stuff. For others, family responsibilities, and things to do with family. Your colour or shade could be the pursuit of fame and fortune, keeping up with the Joneses, looking beautiful or even just sex! I don’t mean to be rude but take a look at how you spend your 24-hour day, or 7-day week. What fills most of it? What occupies the most of your thoughts? Do you give much of your time to anything else? Do you belong to Tribe Monochrome?
If you are satisfied with a monochromatic life, all well and good for you. Different strokes for different folks. But going by the number of people who take vacations, change their wardrobes, cars and hairstyles, move house or complain about things they consider boring, I think it safe to conclude that most of us want variety. The fact that we complain about lack of work-life balance further proves my point.
I am reminded of an exercise I once encountered in Dr Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. She described a full life as one with its shelves full of varied preoccupations, such as family, work, community, health etc. An empty life on the other hand had one or two items on one or two shelves. Quite a few of the shelves were left empty. With a full life, the absence, or loss of one of the items on the shelves had a lesser impact, from which recovery was more likely. In the case of the empty life, any loss or absence, such as a redundancy, divorce, bereavement or relocation would be greatly noticed and quite devastating.
What is my point in all of this? If we live our lives with more balance, catering to a variety of interests, paying attention to the different things that matter to us, enriching the lives of others and not just building up treasures for ourselves, we end up living fuller, happier lives. We create satisfying memories for life’s rainy days. And we aren’t so hung up on any one person or thing that our world would come crashing down if we were to lose them.
What could you do to add more colour to your life? What other things could you stock on your shelves? A healthier lifestyle? Better relationships? Travel? A hobby? Community service? Is your work so much the focus of your life that you derive your identity from it? Would a redundancy, failed relationship or a child leaving home knock the wind out of your sails? I dare suggest that a fuller-shelved, multi-coloured life could stretch us further, open the doors for us to give and receive more, reduce the chances of burn out and ultimately be more satisfying. So , what could you do to give your life more colour and balance? How could you, and others in your life benefit from this?
If you would like, drop a line to say whether you are monochromatic and loving it, or seeking more colour in your life. Tell us what items you could add to (or remove from!) your shelves and the difference this could make. And of course, share the experience with those you love!
P.S. It’s not only about adding stock to the shelves of our lives. Sometimes we need to get rid of things that aren’t serving us well. Things such as a toxic relationship, unnecessary expenses or an unprofitable business venture. Will you be adding or removing? Or perhaps doing both!