Made in Macao | Work-Life Balance and the Seven Sins

Jenny Lao-Phillips

Talking about the seven sins as a form of work-life-balance may be against my Catholic beliefs. But as I watched the episode about The Seven on the TV show Supernatural for the tenth plus time, I cannot help but think of the seven sins in their relation to successful careers and contentment in our lives. I came to the conclusion that the seven sins are deadly only when they are committed in the extreme.

In all likelihood even those who are not religious would know the seven sins from fiction. So without further ado, let’s first look at “pride”, that which is considered the root of all sins, the cause of all our damnation from the first fallen angel to our ancestors in the Garden of Eden. So, pride is bad! But one that has no pride in one’s work at all may lack the motivation to continue. While pride at its extreme leads to arrogance, without a small amount of pride, one becomes subservient, or in other words, a push-over. So, in terms of achievement, there must be something that makes one feel proud of what one does.

Then there is “envy”, a force that may push us to be better than others, but may tempt us to kill those whom we are jealous of when taken to the extreme, which is not good. But like it or not, it is out of pride and envy that most people are pushed to work harder and do better. However, “pride” and “envy” cause us to focus on competing with others, and as the Chinese saying goes ‘‮$‬@‮$‬sءع&‮٣$‬@‮$‬s‮٠*‬ There is always a mountain higher’, so envy out of pride for ourselves alone would be endless, for there is always someone to compete with, and ultimately, we end in “wrath”: anger towards everyone or even the world, for we failed to achieve what we want.

So, sometimes it may not be too bad to add a little bit of “sloth” in our lives, some time to do nothing, think nothing and over indulge in ice-cream, or in my case, oysters, which may be indicative of “gluttony”. But in the end “sloth” and “gluttony” may prevent us from the “wrath” that may result from our unresolved “pride” and “envy”. And a moderate amount of “sloth” and “gluttony” may temper the “greed” of power and money if that is what we strive for in our career, and therefore keep us from corruption.

Not that I am advocating any of the seven deadly sins should be practiced, but if we cannot avoid all, we may as well balance them a bit. The seven sins are deadly if taken to the extremes, but without a balance amongst them, we may end up becoming unambitious push-overs that do nothing but overeat and covet what other people have, thus being angry with the whole world for what we are not given. At least with a bit of “pride”, “envy” and “greed”, we are motivated to do more and gain more, and they are balanced with a little “sloth” and “gluttony” so we can enjoy life, especially with people we love, and that would help suppress general “wrath” as a result of the unbalanced.

Yes, I am aware there is one of the seven that I have not mentioned, but that would take a whole thesis to explain, which may get me evicted from my Church. So here, let’s just try to balance an even number of six before we tip the scale with the seventh.

Categories Opinion