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Nursing and the ‘5 balls of life’. Burnout, stress, overweight, failed relationships, poor sleep…the list goes on. Many nurses reading this may relate that they are struggling with at least one of those mentioned. Take a moment to reflect and think to yourself, could your work as a nurse be influencing one of these? If work is a common factor for many of your issues or even just one or two, you need to reflect on the following article. Actually, no, everyone should reflect on this article!

This is a famous, short yet incredibly inspiring speech given by Coca Cola’s former CEO Brian Dyson in 1991. The recorded excerpt runs only about 30 seconds, but it’s from a much longer discourse. His insight is as valuable today as it was then. A must-read for every healthcare worker.

5 Balls of Life

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends, and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that ‘work’ is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.


Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly: and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift: that’s why we call it ‘The Present’.”

Georgia Tech – Sept. 6th, 1996

I suggest you now head over and check some of our wellbeing and self-care articles