I haven’t always been a reader. I mean, when I was a kid I did take a liking to Box Car Kids, but that was pretty much it. Over the past year, I’ve kindle a new fire for books. Self-improvement, leadership, educational, and so on. “Steal Like an Artist” is currently my favorite book (replacing my love for “Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy). So much jumped out to me in Austin Kleon’s book that I could write a dissertation, but that’s not what you’re here for (nor do I think you want to read all of that).
I’ll cut to the chase: Marry Well.
I am a married man, and I absolutely love it. Every now and then, I have an introspective moment and think what my life would have been like if I had never asked my wife, Mary, to marry me. Each time, I am quickly reminded of how great a job I did. Mary is the best thing to me since sliced bread… or any bread… and I love bread! What's interesting to me is that we develop "marriages" in many different areas of our lives. We marry careers, ideas, close friendships, and so on.
My relationship with Mary has taught me a few valuable lessons about the marriages that we make in our lives, like knowing that love is not a feeling but a choice, or how to maintain a relationship. I'm going to share two other lessons that I've learned here:
1. Choose wisely – Marriages occur in more areas of life than your life partner. The people that you choose to do business with, your friends, your career, and so on are “marriages” that we enter into. If you took time to look over your life, who or what did you marry that wasn’t the best decision for you? Who did work for you, and you for them? Remember, marriage isn’t at all solely focused on you, but what you do to serve the other person.
About three years ago, I entered into a partnership with three of my best friends. The idea was amazing, the vision, drive, passion, and knowledge between the four of us was nothing short of amazing. What happened, you may ask? We ended up shutting it down due to a few differences of opinion that affected the overall business. The marriage between the four of us simply didn’t work. Could it in the future with what we’ve learned? Maybe. But sometimes marriages end in divorce. In our case, it was an easy, though somewhat emotional divorce. If we were not as close and objective as we are, I don’t think we would still be friends. Our marriage as business partners wasn’t the best idea, but I know we all learned from it. (Yep, you can click on that link to go to what we learned from our experience.)
If you’re going to do anything, make sure you know what you’re committing to. If you take time, pray, and learn more about whoever or whatever you’re planning to commit to, you will have one amazing, rewarding experience.
2. “Marry Up” – It’s commonly said that if you’re in a room full of people, but you’re the smartest, you’d better leave that room. Marrying up employs that same logic. Look to connect with people that challenge you, are smarter than you, and can help further your vision. Mary will tell you that I am smarter than her because as a creative and technological person, I can do a heck of a lot of things. But I know who the real smart person is. Mary’s one of the smartest people that I know, and she’s especially smarter than me. I wanted to commit to a person that could push me further. The same is true in business, and anything else that you commit to.
Austin Kleon said that “a good partner keeps you grounded.” When you’re around people that are better than you, or commit yourself to follow people smarter and better than you through books or the internet, you have no choice but to be humbled. Humility is the best learning center. The degree you receive from being humbled is worth far more than any ivy-league education. If you plan to succeed in life, you have to be intentional about who and what you marry. I suppose that the next step would be knowing how to maintain that marriage and discerning between feelings and choices, but I’ll touch on that in another post.