Not too long ago, I was sitting on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and noticed a couple holding hands, walking along the shoreline. They looked so peaceful and perfect, like an island getaway commercial. And then it happened: His cellphone went off.
She gave him a look as if to say, “I dare you!” But the idiot took the dare. Not only did he answer the phone, but he let go of her hand, walked away and talked for 10 minutes. She shook her head, walked over to their beach setup and sat down under the umbrella. The couple that had just resembled a picture-perfect getaway were about to become prime candidates for The Dr. Phil Show.
He finally walked over to her. I grimaced. In my head I heard the booming boxing catchphrase: “Let’s get ready to ruuuumble!” Ding, ding! And boy did she come out swinging.
“Really?” she asked. “I can’t believe you answered your phone. Stop and look how beautiful this place is—and you can’t stop working to even see it, to take it in, let alone be here.”
He should have listened, right? But of course he didn’t. “Hey!” he jabbed at her in his defense. “If it wasn’t for my job, we wouldn’t even be on this vacation!”
She rebounded with a combination of blows that seemed to shake the champ. “Vacation?” she said, incredulous. “Vacation? You call this a vacation!? This is our anniversary! We’ve been here for three days and you can’t stay away from your phone and stupid computer. You brought your job with you—it’s like you can’t stop yourself, like you’re addicted!”
She picked up her belongings and took a few steps toward the hotel. Then she stopped, turned and delivered the final blow: “You know, you used to be married to me. Now you’re married to your job.” The champ just stood there, looking like a real chump.
I grimaced, feeling uncomfortable for having witnessed the whole thing. But let me ask you, this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard, or even had, an argument like this, is it? Let’s face it. We are living in a world that is moving at an amazing pace. And it is easy to get lost and misplace our feelings and values.
Many of us are conditioned to devote the majority of our waking hours on building our careers or business, leaving little, if any, time for other important aspects of our lives. Who can deny that we live in a competitive, ambitious society that stresses the importance of being the very best, rather than simply to do the best we can?
A lot of us have bought into the grand deception of always wanting more, regardless of how much we already have. We have adopted the illusion that if some money, power and fame feels good, then more of these things feels better.
Maybe it would be wise for us to come to the realization that what we think we want in life might not necessarily be what we need in order to lead a truly successful and happy life. Maybe, just maybe, we are leaving out important personal factors from the equation of what completes us as individuals. Maybe it’s just a matter of making a slight shift, finding your balance and choosing a better way. Maybe there are too many “maybes” in this paragraph. Or in your life.
I’m at a place right now where my philosophy about what’s important in my life has significantly shifted. Yes, I love what I do for a living. I always did and I always will. But I know far too many people who are so caught up in trying to make a living that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to live.
More often than not, what we want feeds our ego. But when we fulfill our needs, we feed our soul. Pause today for just a minute and ask yourself, Which one am I feeding?
Choose wisely, because time has a cruel way of saying, “I told you so.”