We Juggle Five Balls in the Air

Advice from James Patterson, former advertising mogul and now mystery fiction writer:

Mr. Patterson urged her to think of life as a game in which we juggle five balls labeled Work, Family, Health, Friends and Integrity: "One day you understand Work is a rubber ball. You drop it and it bounces back. The other four balls are made of glass. Drop one of those, and it will be irrevocably marked, scuffed, nicked and maybe even shattered."

Haven’t heard this before, but I believe it.

(via Harry Hurt’s review of two new books)

7 comments on “We Juggle Five Balls in the Air
  • I organize my obligations into House, Work, Money, Self, and Others. I don’t have friends, so there aren’t any to juggle, but I do have children and volunteer obligations which I stick in “Other. If I didn’t stick “Self” in the mix, I would never exercise or do anything for myself because the other things eat up my time. Health comes under self, and integrity falls into every category–it’s always there. I can’t imagine why anyone would make it a separate consideration.

  • Very apt: “Drop one of those, and it will be irrevocably marked, scuffed, nicked and maybe even shattered.”

    Jude, I see what you’re saying: integrity should be ‘integral’ to the way you go about all of the other things – still there’s something to emphasizing it of its own accord, plus maybe it’s a big enough category to encompass acts of generosity or service to your surrounding community / world.

  • Interesting to see “integrity” listed as a ball that can be juggled and presumably dropped some time? What an odd metaphor!

    Integrity is not a ball – it is “the hands that juggle the balls”. Without the hands, you cannot juggle any balls whatsoever, nor can you catch any which is bouncing back.

  • I love the idea of work being the rubber ball. This quote inspired me to take some risks with my career and it’s paid off very well so far. I think it’s true, every time you take a risk in the other four areas something usually goes wrong.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *