Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
Are you doing it right? Are you spending your time, effort and energy on the things that are really worthwhile? Or are you holding back?
Don’t hold back. Spend all your life pursuing (all out) the things you believe to be worthy of your life.
The core message I want to communicate to anyone who looks to me for guidance is a simple one. Live your life to the fullest. Spend every moment you can pursuing what matters most.
It’s definitely one of those “easier said than done” type messages. There are always good reasons to hold back. Things like holding down a job, obligations to friends and family, and even the daily race just to tick off everything on your to-do list.
All of that stuff takes up time and energy. Sure, it’s noble to live life to the fullest, but many of us feel we simply don’t have the luxury of making that a reality.
The thing is, I believe in you. I believe if you look deeply within yourself, you will find there are things you believe in that are worthy of your time, energy, and full pursuit… even in the face of hardship.
Of course, the biggest reason we hold back is even more basic. We’re afraid of failure.
It was unexpected. But, then again, such moments always are.
The conversation reached a natural conclusion. Normally, that would have prompted them to find a new topic, but not this time. Instead, he looked at her and she looked at him. For a moment, that’s all there was. Just silence, pure and profound. It was powerfully intimate.
The beginning of any relationship is filled with near-constant chatter. We’re so excited to get to know the other person, sometimes we literally talk for hours. But the first milestone of deep connection isn’t something said. Instead, it’s when you can comfortably sit with someone and say nothing at all.
That kind of silence speaks volumes.
To be clear, I’m not talking about a mere lull in the conversation. This isn’t the kind of silence that happens when your mind is wandering, either. These are moments of rare mutual desire to embrace another person through the silence. It’s like saying, “Just your presence is enough for me.”
When you reach the first moment of that kind of silence in a romantic relationship, you know something special is happening. The hard part is not spoiling it.
Which is better? To avoid mistakes altogether, or to watch for your mistakes, expecting them on a daily basis?
The answer may surprise you.
Back in the 90’s, IBM built a computer called Deep Blue. It played chess. In 1997, it actually beat Garry Kasparov, a world champion. Unlike human players who rely on intuition, it worked by calculating thousands of potential moves every second. And, it was good enough to take down a human world champion.
In contrast, TD-Gammon is a computer program that plays another classic game—backgammon. But instead of being pre-programmed with an extensive knowledge-base, it’s programmed to simply learn from its mistakes. Each time it plays someone, it makes adjustments to its strategies based on what worked and what didn’t.
When Deep Blue was fired up for its now famous match against Kasparov, programmers had to use a crazy-complex cooling system just to keep the thing running. It takes a lot of power to shuffle through every possible move every second! TD-Gammon, on the other hand, becomes more efficient the more it plays. Like a person, it learns from its mistakes and becomes a better player over time.
So, which is better?
In theory, Deep Blue didn’t make mistakes, but it couldn’t learn, either. Said another way, it would never get any better. That’s true because mistakes, while painful, are how we grow.
“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me this has always been enough.”
– Duke (James Garner), The Notebook (2004)
What does it mean to succeed in life?
Duke got it. Success is as simple as real, lasting connection with another. This is true for both women and men. We’re all hardwired to crave relationship. Our connections with other people give life its greatest purpose.
But sometimes men lose sight of this basic truth. By nature, men tend to focus on goals and achievements, and it’s easy for non-relationship goals to take center stage. That’s fine when it happens for a short while. It can even be good as it allows for razor-sharp focus. The problem occurs when a man forgets to bring his attention back to his relationship with you once a mission has been accomplished.
Let me explain why this happens to men. Imagine what life was like for humans thousands of years ago. Men were typically hunters. The man would leave his family and go out into the wild to find food. Why? Because he loved his family and wanted to provide for them. Relationship was his ultimate goal. By hunting, he was providing for his family.
When he succeeded, he felt joy because of what it meant for his family. But the thrill of the hunt, developing new skills, and seeking prestige among fellow hunters can cause a gradual shift in attention. Seeking success in hunting can gradually remove his focus from his partner or family.