I was having a conversation with a friend the other day andhe made an observation that I found interesting. He stated that he noticed that a lot of intelligent and highly educated people are less keen than others for any kind of complicated, long-term relationship. I pondered for a bit and realized that, while it isn’t a rule, I agreed with him that more people from that demographic are likely to feel that way. They are also less likely to have children, I believe.
Now I wonder why this is…
My friend commented that he believes it is because these people are more focused on their ambitions – their careers – than other demographics.And that is also why they are more successful in this area than other demographics. Naturally! Perhaps I should have clarified, then, and said that maybe it’s not those who are more educated and/or intelligent, but rather those who are more ambitious.
I once read a quote that said something like, “Anything can be accomplished, as long as you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do it.” This means that any goal or ambition can be achieved, so long as one realizes that there will have to be some other things that cannot be achieved in order to accomplish the higher priority desire. And to really get somewhere in a career, relationships and family are often one of those things that are chosen as a lower priority. I’ve noticed this to be true regardless of what area one works in, whether professional, technical, trades, business, or arts. Those who are truly the most successful tend not to have success in relationships or family. And I believe it is a choice.
Now, I’m not saying that these things are impossible. For example, there are many successful actors/actresses who have great families. But notice that the trend is to have achieved the success in a career before the secondary goal of family begins. There has to be an extreme single-mindedness to achieve great success.
When we divide our efforts, rather than focusing on one particular goal, then we tend not to achieve our full desire in the greater objective.We need to work on one thing at a time. Or at least have one goal be a higher priority than others. And this can mean that the others will not be achieved. I’verealized that I’ve done this to myself in my own ambitions. I’ve divided my efforts, had a lack of focus; and therefore ended up getting nowhere in my ambitions. It’s a hard realization to admit.
When I was younger, I only had two real goals. To become an artist. And to have a wonderful family. Then I also wanted to be a writer. So a third one crept in. Then I ended up working at all kinds of things besides the art and writing, mostly at the request of others. Bowing to pressure. Yet, Istill tried to be some form of artist. And writer. Too many things at once. And I had a wonderful relationship that lasted about 11 years. And I believe that it’s my lack of focus that caused me to lose so much at that time. My career floundered. My marriage fell apart. I stopped doing writing and artwork for a couple of years. In short, I was miserable.
And I thought that I could cure it by finding a relationship and focusing on my career for a time. So I did both. I got a new relationship, even had kids. And tried to focus on a career. But I knew in my heart that the career was wrong for me. And so was the woman. Those both fell apart when I tried to refocus my career. I had no clear goals at all. Not in my personal life. And not in my professional life. Again, everything fell apart. Of course, if I had focus on one thing fully, then I could have made it work. I grant that a failed relationship is not entirely my fault. What was at fault was the incorrect choice in choosing a partner. Had I been focused properly at the beginning of the relationship, it would never have developed. But I am glad that it did. Now I have two awesome children who I have made into my number one priority!
Choosing our priorities is not always easy. In choosing my kids as a priority, I realize that I have to sacrifice other things in my lifefor that. I’ve lost a few short term relationships already because of it. It’s hard for some women to take second place to my kids. I’ve also designed my career around them, so that I can spend as much time as possible with them. I get a lot of criticism for this! The number one comment is that they will always be there, so I should work more on my career. I can spend time with them later. But can I really?
Time is the one commodity that we never can renew. Once it’s spent, it’s gone forever. And children grow up quickly. It is my number one goal to develop a relationship with them while they are young that will foster closeness, love, and mutual understanding throughout our lives. I want to teach them everything that I can. I want them to love G-d and understand that questioning faith does not mean losing faith. I want them to learn self-control and reason. I want to help develop their compassion – towards one another, towards humanity, and towards our planet. I want to teach them responsibility. I want to teach them to recognize evil, even when it is within someone they love or within themselves. And that it hard to do! And I want them to experience complete joy and love in our small family.
I am willing to sacrifice a lot for this, I’ve realized. I would sacrifice my career. I would sacrifice any relationship with a woman. I would sacrifice my own health, if I had to. Thankfully, the latter is not necessary. While I realize that we have to live and I have to make a living, I am smart enough that I can make a career around my family. Many people are unable to see ways to do this. Yes, it means that I am unlikely to see stellar success until my kids are adults. I can accept that. I cannot accept a less than stellar relationship with my kids.
People who are goal oriented realize that they have to sacrifice some things to accomplish those goals. It may be subconscious a lot of the time, but the realization is there. I am fortunate, in that I am now able to articulate these goals that I’ve had in my mind (subconsciously) for a long time. And I understand what sacrifices I must make in order to accomplish these goals. It also made me realize how much I really love my kids!