I have a friend who, in all outward appearances, is doing extremely well in his life.
He’s making millions of dollars. His fame and reputation are spreading far and wide. He is brilliant and seems to know all of the answers.
But then, I just found out last night that he’s been going through a major divorce.
He has a few kids whom he loves, but who he hasn’t been around very much to play with.
There is a common notion that you can “have it all.” It’s a very seductive idea. But it’s not true.
The fundamental core of the word “decision” means to literally cut-off alternative options. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously close the door on many others.
This is why making decisions is so hard.
A true decision involves risk, opportunity cost, uncertainty, and commitment.
True decisions involve courage — because it takes courage to commit to something beyond your own momentary feelings. It takes courage to commit to a future filled with unknowns.
Thomas Monson once said, “Choose your love, and love your choice.”
I’ve seen over and over in the past year how easy it is for people to walk away from their marriages. The honeymoon phase has long since passed. Their relationship has gotten slightly apathetic. They aren’t investing in the relationship like they once did.
The grass begins looking much greener ALL OVER THE PLACE.
The thrill of a new and exciting relationship (or project) starts to fill the mind.
Why is a new relationship so attractive? Because it’s all future.
The longer you’re in a relationship, the more “past” there is in that relationship, and thus, the more likely you are to fall into patterns.
Unless you are continually creating a future that is bigger than your past, your past will be repeated in the future — and that is how things can get boring pretty quickly.
When you first start something out, it’s incredibly easy to be flexible. You’re willing to do practically anything for the relationship. You want it really bad.
But after time passes, do you still approach the relationship that way?
Or, since you have it now, have you stopped prioritizing your relationship?
It’s extremely easy to fall into this trap.
It’s easy to fall into patterns where you stop truly investing in a bigger future.
Life gets busy.
You’ve got to pay the bills and do all the stuff. It can be exhausting.
But life was busy before and somehow, you found all sorts of creative energy to invest the relationship.
What if it’s not about the busyness of life, if we’re really being honest?
What if you’ve just gotten too busy with other things?
What if your mind is just somewhere else?
What if you’ve gotten lazy?
What if, now that you have what you want, you want something else?
It’s easy to drift.
Only when the relationship comes to an abrupt end, like in my friend’s situation, does it become painfully obvious about what had slowly been happening over a number of years.
If you don’t pay attention to your life on a daily basis, it will absolutely drift in directions you may not like.
You have to be completely clear on your core priorities.
If you’re not completely clear on what matters to you, then you don’t have direction in your life. You don’t have values. Your life will be a ship in the ocean without a sail or compass — just following the wind.
It is not a priority if you’re not investing in it.
It is not a priority if you’re not thinking about it.
It’s not a priority if you’re not pouring time into it.
It’s not a priority if you don’t love it deeply.
It’s not a priority if you don’t have a vision for it.
What are your priorities?
What evidence is there that what you just thought about actually is a priority?
How much have you invested in those “priorities” in the past 1–2 weeks?
Of all things, relationships are some of the easiest to take for granted over time.
If your key relationships aren’t something you’re approaching with a beginner’s mindset — as you did when you were first trying to establish the relationship — then the relationship is probably not a priority to you.
That may be weird to hear.
It is highly likely that your romantic relationship — no matter how much you say and think you love this person — is not actually a priority to you.
If the relationship is not a priority, then that relationship has drifted into an apathetic pattern — and apathetic and boring patterns don’t have a lot of life. If your relationship doesn’t have life, then it will likely end.
One, or both, of you, will begin looking for life and future and possibility somewhere else.
You can’t have many “priorities”
Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “If you have more than three priorities, you have none.”
That may be a little extreme — but it also brings up a good point. If you are focused on many different things, then you aren’t really focused at all.
Focus requires zeroing in. It means making a decision.
If you’re focused on several different things in your life, in which direction are you actually going?
If you’re focused on several different things in your life, is it possible you actually have misled yourself? What if you’re not really going where you think you are? What if you’re actually drifting, and you haven’t fully committed.
It takes courage to be committed and to make decisions.
But without courage and commitment, you can never develop confidence.
What are your priorities?
Are you clear on them?
Are you investing in them?
Are you willing to give up a lot of other things to ensure that your true priorities are where your mind and heart are?
If not, then you probably don’t have priorities. And without priorities, you don’t have a clear future that you’re creating.
Ready to upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. If you follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
This article first appeared on Medium.