John Paul Ito




Healthy Balance

The following text is adapted from Lawrence University's Healthy Balance Statement, of which I was the lead author.

A pdf version is available here.

A set of videos discussing the statement and related issues can be found here.

Healthy Balance

Universities are in general vibrant communities, places of tremendous vitality and richness that offer abundant opportunities for meaningful work and play. This abundance brings with it the challenge of maintaining a healthy, balanced life – a life characterized by productive tension among such competing needs as work and play, sleep and wakefulness, solitude and sociability. All members of university communities – students, staff, and faculty – have the responsibility to promote balance in their lives by making thoughtful choices.

Balanced choices flow from an understanding that human flourishing requires the fulfillment of very real physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs.

Balanced choices flow from an understanding that failure is part of the road to success in all endeavors, whether academic, extracurricular, or social. The diligent pursuit of success in the long term will not preclude failures in the short term. Conversely, unrealistic expectations of success in the short term can compromise both health and long-term success if basic human needs are neglected.

Balanced decision-making flows from an understanding that short-term imbalances are inevitable. Short-term decisions must respond to immediate context, but those decisions are forming longer-term patterns of healthfulness. Balance requires an ability to discern how long an imbalance may safely persist.

Balance results from two skills: avoiding imbalance through careful planning, and managing and containing imbalance when it occurs.