“Moderation in all things” is a saying we’ve heard so often that it’s become almost meaningless.
And yet, it’s important.
It’s an important reminder when our world seems so focussed on absolute, all-or-nothing answers.
We want our answers to be exact and extreme. Unequivocally, one or the other. We want it all, or we’ll have nothing. We want to do it all, or we’re a failure. If I’m not a winner, I’m a loser.
Moderation is shades of gray.
Moderation says you don’t have to do it all. That doesn’t mean you’ll do nothing, just that you’ll do something.
Moderation says you don’t have to have it all. That doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be left with nothing, just that what you have is probably enough.
And of course, you don’t have to eat it all. Really. 🙂
But there’s a corollary I like to add from time to time.
Moderation in all things, including moderation.
Moderation is a great go-to reaction for most aspects of life. It’s good for everything from eating to exercise to work to play to almost everything.
And yet there are no black and white answers.
Moderation is not the right answer to everything.
Sometimes you need to be extreme. Sometimes abandoning moderation is the right answer. Sometimes complete avoidance, or total immersion, is a better approach to whatever it is we face.
You don’t want your heart surgeon to be moderately good, or approach your surgery with an attitude that “good enough” is good enough.
If you’re an addict, moderation is not part of your path. Abstinence is.
Hence, use moderation in moderation as well.
There aren’t any simple answers.
Wisdom, such as it is, is in part knowing when and where to apply, or abandon, moderation in whatever situation you find yourself.