Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 Year Plan: The Most Important People in my Life are the Most Important Thing in My Life

I wrote out 6 core beliefs to plan the next 10 years of my life around.  Here they are:
  1. Anything worth doing will be hard.
  2. Do one thing at a time and one thing only.
  3. The most important people in my life are the most important thing in life.
  4. Never let fear dictate anything.
  5. Money is a tool.
  6. Billionaire moments are everywhere.
Third on my list: the most important people in my life are the most important thing in my life.

I used to believe that people are the most important thing in life.  That statement probably reflects my optimistic, non-confrontational nature.  I like to get along with everyone.  I want everyone to be my friend.

Now I qualify that statement to: The most important people in my life are the most important thing in life.  There's quite a big difference between those two statements.  Before, I included the whole of mankind.  Now, just my immediate circle of family and friends.

That's not to say that all people aren't important.  I strongly believe they are.  And let me be clear, I believe I should treat even people I don't like with respect and kindness.  But by placing family and friends in the position of most important, I prioritize my life in the right way.  If we were to all divide the world into three simple categories based on our relationships it might look like this:

  • Family and friends.
  • Acquaintances, people you pass on the street, random folks on the bus, people we haven't met yet.
  • People we don't get along with.

Now, how should we rank those groups in order of importance?  A pretty simple question for most of us.  Family and friends should be first, acquaintances second, and people we don't like third.

Maybe my past self would call this social hierarchy sad and cynical, but I know now I can't make everyone like me all the time.  Having beliefs, having principles, having to make decisions invariably will upset someone.  And frankly, there are some people out there who just might not like me.  And try as I might, there are some people who I just don't like either!

At the same time, I have been blessed to have amazing people in my life.  Some I inherited by birth, like my mother and father.  Others I've found traveling through life, and for whatever reason they decide to call me friend.  However they came into my life, I am convinced that the friendship, loyalty, and experiences I share with these people make them worth more than anything I own or could possibly own.

Yet, my own behavior seems to show I rank them otherwise.  Lets take this scenario: a friend invites you out to an event you both want to go to, but you know someone you don't want see (ex girlfriend, sworn enemy, Miley Cyrus, i.e) will be there.  We've all been in this position.

Logically, I should let the people I don't like influence my life the least, so I should go to the event with my friend.  Yet, many times I elect not to spend time with my friend for fear of running into the person I don't like.  I place the person who should be at the bottom of my priority list on the top.  It makes no sense!

Indeed, sometimes the ones we love the most we treat the worst.  I can spend all day forcing myself to smile and be friendly to strangers, then snap at my girlfriend when I come home.  We fear the opinions of strangers more than those we love.  Maybe this becuase people who really care for us are the ones who have seen our ugly sides and our faults and love us anyway.  Maybe we think, "they'll still love for me anyway," while we put on a happy face in public because they probably won't.

Whatever the rationale, it shouldn't be that way.  Again, we shouldn't be rude, mean, etc to anyone (even those we don't like!), but we should definitely give our loved ones our best.  Put them first.  They are the ones who will be for you through the thick and thin.  The rest of the world?  If they are there at all, they sure won't be there for you when things get tough.

Family and true friends are treasure.  For the next 10 years of my life, it's my goal to treat them that way.

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