A lot of people think I define a “Rich Life” as mostly about money. Wrong!
I think money is an important, but small part of a Rich Life.
- Your job/business
- Being able to travel
- Relationships: Friends, your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, sexuality, attraction
- Style: What you wear and how you look
- Fitness and health: How to look and feel amazing
Today, we’re going to talk about RELATIONSHIPS.
To start, think about the last time you got excited and shared that excitement with someone else. Maybe it was losing weight, starting a business, traveling somewhere exotic…whatever.
I love noticing people’s responses. They’re so revealing.
For example, some people say, “WOW! That sounds amazing!”
Others say, “I wish I could do that” (code for: “I could never do that because [insert excuse here]”).
Or one of my favorites: “There’s more to life than making money.”
The last one is very telling. I absolutely loved this comment in a blog post about ambition:
“What irks me are the assumptions inherent in people saying ‘There’s more to life than just…’
What have I said that makes you think I’m excluding other ‘important’ things? Why are you positioning my ambition and other aspects of life as two separate ideas, as if they don’t connect or enhance each other (for example, can’t a love for your family fuel your ambition?)…
The phrase says a lot more about the person saying it than the person it is being said to.”
Statements like, “There’s more to life than just…” are what I call extreme-reach barriers. We use these phrases whenever we focus on the worst possible outcomes (irrationally) instead of what we want.
How many of us claim we want something, then let extreme-reach barriers hold us back?
Some of my favorite examples…
- Starting a business: “I wish I could, but I don’t have enough time. I don’t want a second full-time job.”
- Working out: “So you’re saying I’d have to go to the gym every day for the rest of my life to lose weight? Forget it!”
- Getting married: “Have fun while you’re single, because marriage is a graveyard.”
That last one may strike a nerve with the systems weirdos who read my site.
Isn’t it interesting that we’ll read 6,253,468 articles about Pomodoro Technique this and No-Carb that — and then make the most lazy assumptions about what research says is the #1 driver of a Rich Life: our relationships?
My friend Ryan Holiday wrote about this in his post: The Perfect Spouse Is The Best Life Hack No One Told You About:
“For all the productivity and success advice I’ve read, shaped and marketed for dozens of authors in the last decade, I’ve never really seen someone come out and say: Find yourself a spouse who complements and supports you and makes you better.
Instead, we’re supposed to believe that relationships tie people down, that they are the death knell for creativity and ambition. When Cyril Connolly said that there was ‘no more somber enemy of good art than the pram in the hall,’ he was voicing, in appalling clarity, the selfishness and self-absorption that draws many people away from love and happiness.”
I love Ryan’s take.
Not just because he rejects everything our culture (especially Silicon Valley’s “success” culture) tells us about marriage, but because he goes deeper.
It’s EASY to sit in your computer chair and say “screw relationships, I’m trying to change the world.” Or to struggle on, assuming your personal life and work life don’t dramatically affect each other. It’s much more challenging to say, “You know what? Relationships matter a lot. I’m going to figure out how to have an amazing relationship and change the world.”
Yes and yes!
Look: I’m not telling you to go get married tomorrow. I’m not married yet, either. The point is that when you fall back on extreme-reach barriers (instead of thinking for yourself), you block yourself from defining — and living — your own Rich Life.
The #1 extreme-reach barrier in relationships
We’ve all heard it: “Once you get married, bye-bye sex life.” I wanted to explore this, so I invited Esther Perel (bestselling author of Mating in Captivity) into my studio to talk about the unwritten rules of intimacy.
What Esther revealed is that a stale sex life is NOT the inevitable dead-end of a relationship.
It’s the result of breaking rules that:
- We don’t even know we’re breaking
- And often have nothing to do with sex
Once you know these rules, you can improve your relationship — piece by piece — and your sex life will thrive automatically.
Here’s an 11-minute excerpt from our talk. I was struck by her opinion (at the 3:00 mark) on marrying for love and passion:
I’m curious: what’s an extreme-reach barrier you tell yourself? How has it stopped you from pursuing what you want?
Leave a comment. I read every one.
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