The key principle for success at Harvard (and the rest of life)

Awright troops!  Welcome to the blog.  This is where I’ll be giving you quick tips on how to kick ass at Harvard (or whichever college you’re at) while having a great time.  Some of the advice will be Harvard-specific, but most of it won’t be, so feel free to hang out and post comments if you’re from another college.

Okay, so the key to success at Harvard is one word.  Here’s the really big one.  Are you ready?  Can’t hear you — did you say you were ready?  Oh good.  Here it is: BALANCE.  Let me repeat that: balance.  Let me say it in italics: balance.  And bold, too: balance.

Now some people may think balance is not sexy, finding it prosaic or even boring.  Well, maybe.  However, I submit to you that the opposite of balance is the opposite of sexy.  Observe: cyclist losing her balance and falling on the pavement.  Not sexy.  Observe: person tripping over crack on the pavement and going splat on the sidewalk.  Not sexy.  Observe: Lindsay Lohan getting canned for being way out of control.  Supremely unsexy.  So if the opposite of balance is unsexy, perhaps there’s something sexy about balance after all.

Balance is the opposite of excess.  The way you’re going to do spectacularly well in college and the rest of your life is by avoiding excess.  Too much indulgence and partying your buns off is excess.  Too much austerity and studying in the library every Saturday night is also excess.  Balance, dammit!

It’s the concept of the Middle Way so prevalent in Eastern wisdom, especially Taoism and Buddhism.  Your body knows about balance, too.  It’s called homeostasis (or allostasis, depending on the situation you’re in).  The goal of these postings will be to help you understand, find and maintain balance for your freshman year.  And your sophomore year.  And junior and senior year, too.  And maybe even after that.

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