Historical evidence that integration may be better for boys than balance

A few months ago I posted a somewhat controversial opinion that work-life balance is not worth pursuing. My perspective is that work-life integration is a much more effective way to live life to it’s fullest.  This post remains one of my most popular blogs and based upon the number of new visitors that find it via search, it looks as though it has been, and remains, a topic of interest.


I discussed this concept a bit with Frank Hanna (on of my 5 brains to pick) last week.  Interestingly, it was a topic that he brought up after I mentioned that I had brought my seven year old son to Atlanta for his first business trip.  Frank immediately picked up on this topic and told me why he was intrigued.


Many sociologists (both professional and amateur) believe that our society began going downhill when women left the home and began spending less time with their families.  Frank argues that the decline of family values and our moral basis began much earlier, with the industrial revolution, when men left the home for the factory.  Until this time, boys throughout nearly all of history and cultures spent their days with dad and other men in their family. They worked on the farm or in the workshop learning a trade, and perhaps more importantly, learning how to be a man.


Since the industrial revolution, boys have increasingly lost their male role models.  The result?  Well, perhaps they speak for themselves.  I don’t know about you, but I think Frank’s on to something.  Interestingly, as we collaborated a bit on this subject, we both agreed that there is no “easy” fix for this problem.  It’s not reasonable to go back to farm life.  We live in a much more advanced culture, but we do need to find innovative ways to surround our boys with masculine influence as they grow up.  I can’t help but wonder if the key to solving this issue is more integration and less balance.  


Incidentally, a couple weeks ago I tweeted quickly with Michael Hyatt (another of the 5 brains I’d love to pick) and he confirmed my assumption.  He integrates.  Sorry folks, balance seems to be a philosophy of the past.  More accurately, it may have been a temporary trend of the 1900s.


What do you think?  Any credibility to this hypothesis?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Carney says:

    I hadn't thought of it that way, but have been doing some of this already. Thanks for helping me make sense of what I was actually doing!

  2. David H. DeWolf says:

    Glad to see it helping you connect the dots, Paul. It seems it may be more common in entrepreneurial circles.

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