How to Love Wisely

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 programUltimately, 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.)
  3. 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.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    ScottH

    I really think our society should integrate lessons like this into our educational system, either HS or college.  I think our society as a whole is quite ignorant when it comes to relationships.  At the top of the syllabus would be attachment theory.  Think about how much more productive (or less unproductive) we would  be.

    1. 1.1
      Rachel

      FWIW, my university offers a course like this as a freshman seminar course. I teach one or two sections each term because I think it’s a valuable experience for students. I feel like most students majoring in the humanities ultimately end up asking themselves many of these questions and intuitively absorb the patience required to be introspective and deliberate about the choices they’re making (and to see them as choices) and it’s unfortunate that we even need a class like this that explicitly requires them to sort out their values and their goals. If we, society at large, valued the types of disciplines that exposed students to various perspectives and value systems that forced them to think about the ideas they are taking for granted, we may all be better able to live intentionally and with more awareness of our approaches to relationships and our priorities.

  2. 2
    Thea Dunlap

    Great post. It is informative and good to know how to Love Wisely. Also read the article you linked “How to Live Wisely.”

  3. 3
    John

    “We ask students to apply this parable to their own lives. 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?”

     

    These are the two roads. I chose the first one when I was 18 years old. It was the wise choice for me and I’ve had an incredible life so far. I skipped college and I tried the high stress jobs for awhile and decided for the relaxed life. I’ve been able to travel extensively and have had some unique experiences. I also am close to my family and I have the time to visit them regularly. I live in a small apartment and drive an old Toyota. I have enough money and enough time. It has been a challenge living like I have in our culture that says you must have a lot of stuff to be happy. I believe in hard work but 7 hours a day is fine for me. I love my life!

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