Maintain balance

one’s ability to maintain harmony between competing needs and priorities.

Maintaining balance, the pivotal center, of the wellness compass requires juggling all other life goals so that no one goal, or component of our life, dominates others, and so that we can prosper across each wellness domain.

Maintaining balance, the pivotal center, of the wellness compass requires juggling all other life goals so that no one goal, or component of our life, dominates others, and so that we can prosper across each wellness domain.

Humankind’s assignment is to be pono in all things.

Kumu Kea; Kailua, Hawai`i

Native Hawaiians sailed great distances using celestial navigation without the use of a compass, and ancient wisdom; pioneered and prospered. Like most native peoples understood the importance of living in harmony with each other and their world. They used the word ‘Pono’ to describe a state of being means living righteously – balancing your thoughts, conduct, physical and emotional health, familial and societal responsibilities. Pono, represents what the Maintain Balance”goal truly means – it represents harmony in all aspects of your life including your relationship with the Creator of our universe and your role as caretaker of our world. [1] It’s living in a way that values each individual, their place in the world, the natural cycles of life, and the importance of preserving nature for future generations. It requires adaption to all sorts of stress.

Life harmony starts with a firm foundation across the four other directional domains of wellness. It is perpetuated by harmonious living – effective juggling of our priorities and responsibilities. The “maintain balance” goal is specifically placed in the middle of the Wellness Compass, because it is our center, our pivot and balance point. In many ways sustaining balance could be seen as the ultimate wellness goal – an aspiration. Whether or not we achieve and sustain balance, we should not lose slight of this pinnacle. Our goal is goal—to juggle priorities and manage stress well enough to maintain harmony between competing needs

We begin our final quest by investing in deeper understanding of the importance of balance and how our stressful lives can easily tip the scale and pull, even the most stable person, out of balance. Our adventure proceeds by clarifying how we can competent navigate the stress of our lives – to flexibly adjust our sails, our crew and our direction to safely reach our destination(s).   It ends with a self-assessment:


What are the three things that most affect whether or not we perceive a stressor as a negative; whether our life is in balance or not? Given that we have a firm foundation in the four dimensions of our well-being – for this wellness scholar, – the answers are: 1) a positive attitude, 2) a high level self-efficacy, and 3) a commitment to successful adaptation by ongoing assessments and reprioritization. The first is so important that it is Wellness Compasses’ generic ‘Cheerful’ goal; the second, self-efficacy, is a critical part of change and learning; the third is a fundamental process utilized throughout the Wellness Compass.

  1. Stay positive.A positive mindset is an incredibly powerful force. It requires discipline, self-control, and faith in a higher purpose – a belief that what doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. Such faith and discipline requires us to realize that when things are not going well, we have to prevent further insanity, be courageous, and change what we are doing, how we are doing it, or what we want. It comes with the understanding that we can’t control what others do (definitely not our family members), but we alone can control what we think, what we say, and what we do. It starts with thinking positively and believing we are important, we can and will endure. It requires being open-minded enough to ask for help when we need.
  2. Enhance Your Self-Efficacy.The second key ingredient to balanced living is self-efficacy, “the beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage certain situations.”[1] People with a high-degree of self-efficacy perceive stressful events as challenges, are very committed to their contributions, and recover quickly from setbacks. Alternatively, those who struggle with self-efficacy are often negative, believe they can’t overcome challenges, and quickly lose confidence. One reason why elders are less likely to report stress than younger people is that they have a lifetime of experience in managing so-called stressful situations. Essentially, many of us AARPers realize we’ve been in similar stressful situations before, have previously resolved it (or witnessed it’s resolution), and know this crisis will be resolved as well.
  3. Ongoing Assessment.While a good attitude and competence are keys to managing stress, you stay in balance because of honest, robust and ongoing assessment of your progress, responsibilities and priorities.. You can be very upbeat and have lots of skills and confidence, but if you don’t rationally and continually assess and fully implement you won’t be able to make the changes needed to assure well-being across all aspects of your life. This is particularly true in emergencies and unexpected major live events. The people who do best in crises don’t have to be the most positive or most competent: they do have to be calm, and rationally assess the situation and then quickly take appropriate action. It takes self-control, discipline, a strong character and a certain degree of applied knowledge. But all of these are characteristics of the Wellness Compass, which you can obtain, even secure as habits, if you choose to do so.


Key Sources.

[1] Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

[1] Kumu Kea. (2015). The Meaning of Being Pono.

Note. Kumu Kea is the Master Hula Teacher of Na Puakea O Ko’olaupoko, a halau (school of Hula) in Kailua on the Island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. RealHula is a website sponsored by this halau.