Saturday, February 23, 2008

Seesaw Principles in Life

What can we learn in life from a simple seesaw?
Take a look at the next picture.

What can we conclude? Can you deduct any principals from this picture?

Before discussing some principles it's interesting to study and to be aware of the mathematical equation and the corresponding 'relational equivalents' that are behind balanced seesaws.
A seesaw with one person (L) on the left several persons on the right is in balance when:

ML . DL = Σ Mx . Dx
MP = the weight of person P
DP = the distance of person P to the center of the seesaw

For non-mathematicians, this formula simply states that in order to 'play' and keep balance, the sum of the "weights" times the "distances"(to the center) of the people on the right of the seesaw, have to equal the same sum of people on the left (in this case only one).

Some simple conclusions from this formula are:
  • To keep balance on your own (no persons on the right of the seesaw), you'll have to sit in the center of the seesaw (DL=0)

  • Two persons, L and M, of equally weight must take place at the same distance from the center (DL=DM)

  • In order to balance more persons of equally weight on the right, the person on left has to take place at a larger distance from the center

Now let's relate this formula to relationships in real life.
  • Balance
    Read the word "Balance" as being "balanced in life". Things in life run smooth, are stable and can be influenced and managed

  • Distance
    Translate the physical entity "distance" to real life as either "physical, emotional distance", or the "amount of connection" between people

With this knowledge, please study the picture again.

Although the number of possible associations is enormous, some interesting examples can be given in the next three :

Seesaw Principles

  1. Solo
    When you're on your own, it's hard to keep balance in life

    • If you move, there's no one to keep you in balance.

    • You depend solely on your own view and interpretation of things.

    • You've got no one to discuss things with.

    • You're fully focused on keeping balance and making no mistakes.

    • You are not able to watch, enjoy, relax or remark things around you.

  2. Partnership
    Partnership gives stability in life.

    • To maintain balance you'll have to keep the right distance between two partners. "Right" means often not exactly identical but weighted with each other's competencies, positive and negative characteristics, preferences and wishes.

    • Even if your partner differs from you, you can still bring the seesaw back into balance by letting him give in or pulling him closer to you (bringing him closer to the middle of the seesaw).It's obvious: Don't give in yourself, things will get more worse. Of course you may also increase your own distance to get into a balanced position. After balancing, this could invite the other (he or she feels more save) to come closer after all, in which case you can also come closer to establish a new balance.

    • If you and your partner get 'too close', the relationship becomes unstable.

    • Even if you live or work with a partner that's totally different, you'll be able to find the right balance, by increasing the distance (meet less often, use telephone or write letters instead of physical meeting(s), move away, take a holiday or break, etc).

    • When you and your partner (e.g. the seesaw) are in balance, giving and taking (e.g. 'playing seesaw, going up and down) take no effort at all and is fun.

    • By applying seesaw principles it's possible to create a sort of lever with which you can increase your force or that of your partner, whatever the situation requires.

  3. Management
    Managers have to keep distance.

    • Although you are perhaps a real 'people manager' or a 'family organizer', if you work with larger groups (more than two people on the right side of the seesaw), always increase and manage your distance in such way that you are able to 'steer the group' and that mutual respect can be maintained.

    • If the situation urges you to work more closely together, create sub groups or plan individual one-to-one meetings.

    • If, for what reason, you can't create enough distance, ask the 'right team member' to join you in steering (let this person join you on the left of the seesaw).

Next time you're having difficulty in keeping your balance, remember the Seesaw Principles.

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