Richard Light, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, wrote a fascinating article called “How to Live Wisely,” and, naturally, I thought it was my duty to share it with you.
He uses it as a call to freshman to become introspective about what they really want out of life. I believe that some of his questions double as powerful relationship advice.
Make a list of how you you want to spend your time and then make a list of how you actually spend your time and match the two lists. How well do your commitments actually match your goals? As I’ve written before, happiness is when your actions are aligned with your goals.
For example, if you claim to want to be happily married, but have given up on dating entirely, it shouldn’t be too surprising if you feel a deep lack of fulfillment.
- In the Core Values Exercise, students are presented with a sheet of paper with about 25 words on it. The words include “dignity,” “love,” “fame,” “family,” “excellence,” “wealth” and “wisdom.” They are told to circle the five words that best describe their core values. I do something similar in my Love U program. Ultimately, many women think that what they’re looking for is tall, gorgeous, rich, and brilliant, but their VALUES really indicate they’re looking for kind, honest, consistent, communicative, and sensitive. (No, they’re not mutually exclusive, but the second list matters more than the first list.)
- Light offers up a parable about an easygoing fisherman who isn’t monetarily rich but is happy with his wife, kids and laid-back job. He asks you to apply this to your own life. I ask you to apply it to your romantic choices. Is it more important to you to have little, be less traditionally successful, yet be relaxed and happy and spend time with family? Or is it more important to you to work hard, perhaps start a business, maybe even make the world a better place along the way? There’s no right answer, but, as a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I can tell you definitively that there are many women who thought they’d be satisfied with climbing the business ladder, who are now highly dissatisfied to have everything but the guy.