Melissa Stetten is in her late twenties. She’s worried about getting old and “hitting her expiration date” as a model.
She puts herself through all kinds of facial treatments to maintain her youthful appearance. Ironically, she hasn’t even made it past her battle with chronic acne! So she goes through expensive treatments for that too.
Melissa talks about her face as her employee. She says she’s in a business obsessed with eternal youth. So she puts up with the facial treatments to keep her skin looking as young as possible.
What if your 20s are a distant memory? Does that mean you’ve lost your attractive appeal?
I understand Melissa’s perspective. She’s just being realistic about the need to plan her next career move. It’s not self-hate. It’s not her own obsession with youth. It’s “just business.”
What about you? Have you figured out how to “age gracefully?” Maybe I should back up a step. What does “age gracefully” even mean?
And how do you deal with aging when it’s not “just business” but something very personal, like putting your picture on an online dating profile?
You’re dating someone new, and none of your friends approve. The independent thinker in you wants to believe you know what you’re doing, thank you very much. The rebel in you wants to tell your friends where they can stick their opinions. And the crowd-pleaser in you wants to dump him and move on. What should you do?
Listen to your friends.
True story: Lisa was engaged. She was excited, of course, but her friends were wary. None of them were particularly fond of David. In fact, every member of her bridal party told her so, asking her to call off the wedding. They were that sure she was making a huge mistake.
The wedding came and went. It was a beautiful day. Fast forward a few years, and Lisa and David are no longer married. Her friends were right. He wasn’t a good fit for her. In fact, she was unhappy long before they split.
You see, Lisa’s friends know her. They know what she likes and what she doesn’t. David wasn’t a bad guy. He didn’t cheat or anything. He just wasn’t a good fit for Lisa, and her friends knew it.
Somewhere in the back of your head you hear your mother’s voice right about now. “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?”
Well, mom, that depends.
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
You don’t have to be a genius to be in a relationship. All you really need to do is try to love the other person and hope they love you back.
But something happens when you spend a lot of time with a person. You begin to see “invisible truths”. It’s the stuff you pick up on when you read between the lines.
Its stuff he never says out loud. You just gradually realize it. You know things about his desires, what makes him tick, what makes him happy, and what irritates him.
I’d like to remind you how important that information is. But first, let me tell you something I learned from a book called Talent Is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin.
He tells the stories of chess masters, golf champions, football stars, and business leaders. He explains a process by which they become extraordinary by focusing on practicing and getting feedback over time.
Colvin argues that most of the amazing experts in the world are just ordinary people who have put in the hours of disciplined practice that allow them to perceive things others cannot.
Take the world champion chess players as an example. They developed the ability to see patterns in the chessboard with just a glance as they walked past it. That’s what allows chess master, Josh Waitzkin to walk around a room while he plays 40 different chess games simultaneously against 40 people for a fundraiser event.
Being able to see patterns is just one of the many ways disciplined practice creates experts over time. Paying attention to feedback and continuously revising your strategy based on that feedback turns you into a freak. You can see patterns emerging that are invisible to other people.
How can you use this information to your advantage in a relationship? You can sidestep a common trap.
Good relationships are a balanced mix of time together and time apart. Too much of either and you’re headed for trouble. Yes, you can spend too much time together!
Take Andrea and Michael, for example. They were inseparable. It had become a joke among their friends—the two were practically joined at the hip. They had a lot of shared interests, of course, and loved spending time together.
That’s how they ended up a couple to begin with.
And, that’s why it floored Andrea when Michael said he needed space.
“What, like, this is the beginning of the end but you don’t want to say it?” she asked.
“No, no,” he said sincerely. “I love spending time with you. I just need some ‘me time’, too.”
When a relationship is new and fresh, it’s common to go full bore, spending every waking hour with your new other-half. We call it the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship. Everything is exciting. It’s a time of discovery. Each hour spent together promises to be full of wonder, fun and passion.