Read a few sales or self-improvement books. You don't need to read far before someone refers to Napoleon Hill's book, "Think And Grow Rich", one of the very first self-help, success how-to books. I went and got the audio book from the library and listened to it for a couple weeks in my truck as I drove around. It kind of sat wrong with me. Maybe I missed the point, but it seemed to me like his principle is, "if you think about money every minute of every day, you will find ways to make lots of money."
Okay. Thanks for the stellar advice, Napoleon.
Although, if you zoom out to 5,000 feet, it makes a lot of sense. I like the way the Bible puts it in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
That makes sense to me. Because my life's purpose is not to get rich, it's to live a rich life.
So, with that said, I've been thinking about what makes my life feel rich. More than that, I've been thinking about what I should be thinking about. A lot of my posts have been about self-improvement - learning, growth, assimilating ideas, and so on. But here's something we should all consider thinking about.
I've heard it said by a few self-help gurus, that it doesn't matter how close you come to saving the world if the people who mean the most to you think the least of you. If you help everyone BUT your family, guess what? You're still a jerk! You are your spouse's only spouse. You are your child's only mother or father. Everyone else can find a replacement if you disappear.
So when I sit and blog and neglect my wife, am I becoming a better person, or a worse one?
A bunch of my co-workers are involved in a program called "Engaged Encounters". It's pre-marriage counselling in a crash course session. They're away this weekend hosting the course, and it makes me think - what a good thing to spend time thinking about! Why not be downright nerdy about ways to keep your marriage interesting? Why not be a marriage wonk? Why not bore people by talking to them for too long about what you do to continually surprise your spouse and make him/her feel loved? What better thing to be obsessed with?
My wife is amazing. A-mazing. She is smart, hilarious, and incredibly high capacity. She has had to deal with some extremely difficult, ongoing challenges in her life that are out of her control. And yet she goes through them, restoring the smile on her face as quickly as possible, and choosing to see the funny side of life, rather than being the victim. Truly, she is the embodiment of grace. Not because she floats through life untouched by the strife around her, but because she occasionally gets flattened. Flattened. And yet she scrapes herself off the pavement time and again, choosing to embrace the joy in life instead of the injustice. Not because its easy - in fact, it's the opposite. But because love is better than loneliness, and she has love to give, and it would go to waste if she gave up.
So, lucky as I am to be married to such a strong and admirable woman, how is it that I take her for granted? Why don't I wake up every day and shower her with gifts, praise, and love? Beats me.
Maybe I'm out of practice. But I think that needs to change. And this is my challenge to all of you: Get obsessed - get downright geeky about loving the people who are closest to you. I promise you it will turn the relationships for the best.
Sadly, I can't speak from experience. But that's why I'm writing this. Ask me again in 6 months, and I'll do the same to you. And lets see what its done for our lives. Because again, the people that MEAN the most TO us, should THINK the most OF us.