"Even better, hire people with multiple talents who can wear different hats during development. The end result will be a more harmonious product." – Getting Real, 37 Signals

It’s funny. This quote above got me thinking about harmony and made me remember a discussion with a friend of ours who is an avid mountain biker about the word "balance" (i.e. "We need to achieve a balance in our lives"). When I mentioned this, he said he didn’t believe in that. He felt that life should be lived to the fullest and his passions (i.e. mountain biking) allowed him to do that. I think I understand now what he meant by that.

You see we shouldn’t be "balancing" our lives in the sense that we shouldn’t do anything extreme. In that sense, what he said made perfect sense. If you lived a "balanced" life, you’d probably live a very boring one because it equates to not pushing yourself out on a limb to fully experience life. Instead what we should be doing is achieving a harmony with our lives so that we can experience the full range and dynamics of it.

In this sense, think of an orchestra. Within it are various instruments that give the lows, midranges, and highs to the music being created. Therefore if one instrument continually played louder than the rest, drowning the rest out, the music probably wouldn’t be that enjoyable. Instead the unity and diversity of the instruments all playing in varying degrees at different moments in the music ensemble makes the experience of listening to it that much more wonderful than just listening to a single instrument.

So to should our lives be like the harmony of music made from these varying instruments. We should have a diverse range of interests, some extreme and some simple. Together as a whole, they will allow us to achieve this harmony within our lives. For example, a person may be extremely passionate about his work to the point of being an evangelist for the company that he works for, yet at the same time he may value his family immensely and therefore when he’s away from work, he fully disconnects from it so that he can fully connect and be with his family. Therefore just like the variations in tone within an orchestra, this person changes their tone at different moments in their life to achieve this harmony within it.

And finally, as I’ve mentioned before, I am not my just my work. I am not just a web guy. I’m not just a geek. I’m not just a gamer. I’m not just a lover of nature. I am all of these things and much much more. It is all of these things combined together in harmony that truly create me and make me the unique person that I am today, just as the various aspects of your life help to create the unique person that you are today as well.