Last time, we kicked off a deeper personal branding journey with the idea of cultivating some virtues — the beneficial character traits that ancient philosophers believed would make for a more rounded you.

Today, we look at the virtue of Balance.

This does not refer to your ability to walk a tightrope! We’re talking about inner balance. Our friend Plato believed that people should avoid excesses. A life of excess maybe fun (for a while), but does not translate into a life well lived, or for that matter, into a compelling personal brand.

Plato wasn’t just referring to the conventional excesses, like eating and drinking too much (although, it’s not a bad idea to look after your body by avoiding both). He was also suggesting that opinions and beliefs could shift out of balance.

So what is that kind of balance all about? It is about finding the golden mean. It is navigating between extreme positions and seeing the worth of taking from opposing points of view and creating something new and exciting.

So to cultivate balance, you need to become more open to views that are opposite to your own. You’ll need to suspend your immediate emotional reactions that tell you “That’s wrong!” or “That makes no sense!”.

Take a deep breath, and examine these opposing views carefully. Try and imagine what you would need to believe in if you really believed the opposing view. Then unpack that belief or idea carefully, and take at least one good insight from it to enrich your own understanding.

Your homework relates to the above: Now that you’re reading more to cultivate Wisdom, we’d like you to calmly and thoroughly examine some opposing views. If you’re a parent who believes that kids should be disciplined, read an opposing, more permissive view. If you’re a manager that believes in order and rules, read a book on anarchism and matrix organisations. If you’re a closet hippy, read a book that argues for state control and conservative values. You get the picture.

Enjoy — and remember to move beyond your initial resistance. You’ll find something interesting and worthwhile, we promise!