Above: islets in the Caribbean Sea (CJ Photo)
How does one live a balanced life and find the right equilibrium— particularly in the Caribbean?
Dennis Chung, a chartered accountant and economic expert, believes he has the answers. And it’s what led him to write his latest book, Achieving Life’s Equilibrium — Balancing Health, Wealth and Happiness for Optimal Living.
Chung says he was driven to write the book, which follows his earlier Charting Jamaica’s Economic and Social Development, because of his own personal experiences.
“I decided to write it because I realized that we have really have not had any awareness of what life is,” he tells Caribbean Journal. “I’ve always questioned it — I’ve always said, ‘what really is the purpose of life’ — is it to be born, to go to school, to get married, to go to work and to retire, or is there something else?”
A native of Jamaica, Chung says it was that search that led him to apply his own skills and analysis to the subject, with several clear findings.
“I saw that what you really need is an equilibrium state — you need to have balance in all of three spheres of life: families and friends, good health and wealth,” he said. “I wanted to leave something for the younger people coming up so that they would not be caught in a “matrix,” that they would understand from an early age.”
And it’s additionally important in Jamaica and the Caribbean, says Chung, an expert on the Jamaican economy.
“For Jamaicans, it’s even more relevant because of the economic challenges that we have,” he says. “Jamaica, in terms of literacy, is not high up there when compared to other countries; so it’s much more relevant to explain this concept to them.”
Jamaicans, he says, need to examine these fundamental principles, especially the health and wellness prong, something that could be easier to follow than initially thought.
“The truth is that Jamaica has a lot of these organic foods that are really good for us,” he says. “We have a lot of these things, the ground provisions, organic chickens, meats, vegetables — and by improving your health you are also adding to your own financial well-being.”
Chung says he is trying to push Jamaicans toward family as well.
“That’s one of the thing’s that’s lacking here — the realization that the way to make ourselves happy is to make the people we spend the most time with happy – and eventually we’ll be happy also,” he says. “What I do is point out and not just outline the principles, but put a roadmap in there — so people can understand what principles to follow and show people how to get to that equilibrium state of life.”
The response thus far has been strong.
“I’ve had good response — a mother called because she wanted to get copies for her children, because she wanted them to understand this now, so that they grow up with that balance in their lives,” he says.
What Chung says he wants readers to take away is that achieving the ideal balance in life is not a fad – it’s a constant process that has to be sustainable.
“A lot of people do things but they don’t sustain it,” he says. “You have to recognize that this is a shift — it has to be a part of you. For health, you have to make exercise a part of you. You have to have those principles of wealth management, it’s not about investing in a Ponzi scheme. It has to be a lifestyle shift — you can’t be a product, a service, a fad.”
— CJ Books