The argument to moderation is a fallacy in which a person claims that the truth lies between two extremes. For example, you have the pro-vaccination arguments, and the anti-vaccination arguments, and since they are opposing each other, you concede that both arguments have some merit and that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of the spectrum: maybe some vaccines, but not all.
And while going for balance may be a good thing, there is no guarantee that it will be a good thing.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, consider a society which tries to find a balance between slavery and non-slavery. It’s pretty fucked up to compromise with slavery, and it’s obviously wrong.
But if not used to make an argument, the Yin and the Yang can be useful for thinking about yourself. I’ve been looking for balance for a long time, and I will probably still be looking for balance for quite some time after this text.
One place where I’ve been looking for balance is between self-criticism and self-acceptance. If you’re too accepting of yourself, you’re soft and you don’t hold yourself to a high enough standard. That means that you cannot grow and do great things. On the other hand, if you smother yourself with criticism, you’re unhappy and always unsatisfied. None of these extremes look appealing: balance to the rescue.
Here’s one balancing thought that came to my mind yesterday:
I’m not failing; I’m training.
This isn’t an excuse – for myself, I am certain of this. I think that there are people who can twist anything to suit their needs, but I am fairly certain that at this point in time, I’m not using this as an excuse.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say that you have a track record of actually doing things. You’re an achiever – maybe not the achiever, maybe not a cocaine-modafinil IQ 180 monster, but you actually do things.
You have projects, and you try new things, and you branch out to new areas that interest you. This branching out could be, for example, trying out a new hobby, starting with a new sport, or applying to jobs in a new industry.
Of course you’re not successful or well-known. The world is not one big pond: you have many disconnected ponds, and being good or respected at one thing does not mean that anyone from the other pond knows about you. A successful boxer will fail for a long time before getting good at Jiu-Jitsu – but for him (or her), the pressure is much higher because (s)he is already a well-known boxer.
A small voice whispers to your ear then. It says: “Just quit, why are you embarrassing yourself here?”
This voice leads you to abandon new hobbies, new sports, new jobs, new relationships. Why? To maintain your high status – which you originally earned by starting at the very bottom.
Or a voice will whisper to your ear: “Maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were.” Maybe you continue with the new thing, but now you’re uncertain – because you’re used to win, and now you’re not winning, and now you’re permanently dissatisfied.
Not really necessary to say, but all of this is obviously stupid. Failing is training, and if you pursue new directions in your life – if you’re growing – then you will fail a lot, until you stop failing.
I’m not failing; I’m training.