Every once in a while I come across something so simple, so clear, so compelling, I immediately say, yup that is true and go about my day. But this one gave me pause, I didn’t want to miss the meaning and assume I understood the deep but simple conclusions.
I came across this Ted talk a few weeks ago and shared it on Facebook, but believe it needs more air time. It is profound, clear, and if taken to heart will immediately change the way you think about your life, your concerns, your priorities, your work and your health.
I encourage you to watch it and think about your own relationships, good, bad or indifferent.
As humans, we desire to connect to others and belong to a community. Relationships. Not always easy, but critical to our short term and long term happiness.
Lifelong happiness, health and fulfillment will correlate directly with the quality of your relationships.
Where are you spending your time and energy?
Over the last few years, I have been in a period of deep examination of my life, my decisions, my choices and how they have impacted my overall happiness and fulfillment. I literally have been trying to answer the question – What makes a good fulfilling life? I didn’t start with that question. I was searching for meaningful work, thinking that if I could find more meaningful work, I would be happier. (hint, meaningful work matters too)
I spent so much time working and it was draining me of my life. Which then led to a broader/deeper question of how I was spending my energy and was it generating the life I wanted. I read too many books to count, took assessments, journaled, watched many videos, hired a career counselor and had long discussions with family and friends, searching for the key to more fulfillment and joy.
When we hear that quality relationships are the key to a good life, I am sure all of us would nod and say, you bet, but we tend to chase the more material aspects that the world would have us believe makes us happy. (Fame, money, accomplishments, to name a few) Often times compromising relationships along the way.
If I just had a different job, or made more money or had that new fly rod. See, these items are fleeting and can only give us temporary feel good moments. Nobody is going to care how much money you have or if you go viral on the internet, but they will care how you made them feel.
Trust me, I have been guilty of going with the conventional wisdom of what makes a good life. Chasing after work, promotions, accomplishments and toys. All of that without understanding what really makes a life fulfilling.
Have I found any answers to what makes a good life?
Yes, I think I have found a few, but not until watching the video above, did I have fully understand the connection between a good life and quality relationships.
As I have reflected on my relationships, I have been very fortunate and blessed. I have been happily married for 27 years and while marriage, in general, can be challenging, I know that I can count on my wife and I look forward to at least another 25 to 30 years, hopefully more.
I have an extended family that I get to see and talk to on a regular basis. Over the last few years, I have gotten back in touch with childhood friends and long lost cousins.
I have kept in touch with close high school and college friends. I make it a point to call often and see them when I have the opportunity. I have a group of guys that I can count on when the waters get rough. I have a small group of fisherman that take several trips together every year.
Over my career, I have made some close friends at work and still keep in touch with several.
I guess intuitively, I knew I would get deep satisfaction from living life with my family and close friends in the picture. Does it take energy and time?
You bet, but worth every minute, in the short term and the long term.
Every once in a while, someone will ask me why I like to fish.
You probably think I would say:
> the challenge of catching fish > all the gear > the skills required > love of the outdoors
While those are in the mix, the answer I give most people is not what you think.
I love fishing. It has deep meaning for me and connects me back to many experiences as a kid and as an adult.
But I really love fishing with friends and family. (or just about anyone else that wants to go)
See, I cannot remember any work experience that gives me the same fulfillment or happiness as that of a good fishing trip with friends or family. I won’t relive that yearlong project I completed, but I will relive, over and over, the time I dumped my canoe, lost or caught a big fish or that great conversation I had floating down the river on a slow fishing day.
Fishing, for me, is about the relationships developed on the river and in the boat.
Which brings me back to the video and a question for you.
Does what your heard about quality relationships change how you will spend your time, energy and intention?
Or are you going to say, sure Tim, we all know that and go about your day?
Tight Lines, Tim