The [work-life balance] problem…is that while success at work is largely rooted in achievement, success outside of work mostly isn’t. The things most of us say we value in our nonwork lives — simply caring and being there for others — aren’t a function of accomplishing anything per se. Contentedness in that realm is less a matter of doing more than of cutting back.
Obvious enough, isn’t it? Life is about setting priorities and making trade-offs; that’s what grown-ups do. But in our all-or-nothing culture, resorting to those sorts of decisions is too often seen as a kind of failure. Seeking balance, we strive for achievement everywhere, all the time — and we feel guilty and stressed out when, inevitably, we fall short.