The Most Important Question of Your Life

Taken from: http://markmanson.net/question ( i took the liberty to highlight what stood out for me)

The Most Important Question of Your Life

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everybody wants that — it’s easy to want that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

Everyone wants that. So what’s the point?

What’s more interesting to me is what pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence — but not everyone is willing to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, with the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough communication, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “What for?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was it all for?” If not for their lowered standards and expectations for themselves 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. You can only avoid pain for so long before it comes roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing to sustain.

“Nothing good in life comes easy,” we’ve been told that a hundred times before. The good things in life we accomplish are defined by where we enjoy the suffering, where we enjoy the struggle.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately love the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to love the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not. Some people are wired for that sort of pain, and those are the ones who succeed.

People want a boyfriend or girlfriend. But you don’t end up attracting amazing people without loving the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success is “What pain do you want to sustain?”

I wrote in my article last week that I’ve always loved the idea of being a surfer, yet I’ve never made consistent effort to surf regularly. Truth is: I don’t enjoy the pain that comes with paddling until my arms go numb and having water shot up my nose repeatedly. It’s not for me. The cost outweighs the benefit. And that’s fine. (<—that’s how i feel about snowboarding…haha)

On the other hand, I am willing to live out of a suitcase for months on end, to stammer around in a foreign language for hours with people who speak no English to try and buy a cell phone, to get lost in new cities over and over and over again. Because that’s the sort of pain and stress I enjoy sustaining. That’s where my passion lies, not just in the pleasures, but in the stress and pain.

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There’s a lot of self development advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

That’s only partly true. Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something badly enough. They just aren’t being honest with themselves about what they actually want that bad.

If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the six pack, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

So I ask you, “How are you willing to suffer?”

Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns.

Choose how you are willing to suffer.

Because that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have the same answer.

The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

Because that answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

So what’s it going to be?

Don’t You Get Married Until You Read This!

100 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married
Bethany Grow of LoveTheGrows.com adapted from
Don’t You Get Married Until You Read This! The Book of Questions for Couples
by Corey Donaldson

Dating, engaged, married…or just single and want to get to know yourself a little better…these are all great questions and conversations to have with your significant other. I found this list a few weeks ago and thought it would be nice to talk through some of these topics with my soon to be hubby, Sev. We popped a bottle of wine and sat on our patio and went through them one by one. Few of his answers were earth-shattering (we’ve been together for 5 years afterall) but it was still nice to see where he (and I) stood on many issues and it made me realize just why we are getting married.

Sex/Romance/Love
If we eliminated physical attraction from our relationship, what would be left?
What is the best way for me to show that I love you?
If I put on weight, will it affect our sexual relationship? How?
Is it important for you to know that I’m a virgin? Why or why not?
What do I do that causes you to question my love?
What turns you off sexually?
How would our relationship be affected if for medical reasons we could not have children?
Do you think being in love means: (1) Never having to say you’re sorry, (2) Always having to say you’re sorry, (3) Knowing when to say you’re sorry, or (4) Being the first to say I’m sorry?

The Past
Which childhood experiences influence your behavior and attitude the most?
Could any feelings of affection and romance be revived if you met a previous boyfriend/girlfriend even though you feel strongly committed to me?
Is there anything in your past I should be aware of?
What did you dislike the most about your previous partners?
If your past boyfriends/girlfriends listed your most negative characteristics, what would they be?
Do you keep letters and memorabilia from past relationships? Why or why not?
Are you comfortable continuing this relationship if there are things in my past that I am not willing to share with you?
Have you ever been involved in any criminal activities? What were they?
Did your mother or father abuse each other or you in any way- sexually, emotionally, or physically?
Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? What was it?
Have you ever been violent in past relationships?

Trust
Have there been times when you were uncomfortable with the way I behaved with the opposite sex? If so, when and what did I do?
What do I do now or what could I do in the future that would make you mistrust me?
Would you be comfortable transferring all your money into my bank account?
Who comes first, your spouse or your children?
Is trust automatic until something occurs that takes it away, or does it evolve over time?
Do you trust me with money?
Is it permissible for us to open each other’s mail?

The Future
How are we different? Could this be a source of future conflict? Do our differences complement each other?
Do you anticipate maintaining your single lifestyle after we are married? That is, will you spend just as much time with your friends, family and work colleagues? Why or why not?
How did your family resolve conflicts when you were growing up? Do you approve or disapprove of that method? what will you change or not change to resolve conflicts in your future family?
Is there anything about marriage that frightens you?
Would you prefer to live in the city, the country, or by the beach? Why?
If I wanted to move away from our families for work, would you support me?
How would it affect you if I travel on my own frequently to (1) visit family, (2) earn income, (3) pursue a hobby, or (4) deal with stress?
Suppose we are experiencing trouble in our marriage. In what order will you seek help from the following to resolve our conflicts: (1) divorce lawyer, (2) your parents, (3) a brother or sister (4) a marriage counselor, (5) me, (6) a church leader? Why?
How will you support my hobbies?
How do you feel about having our parents come to live with us if the need arises?
Is there anything you would regret not being able to do or accomplish if you married me?
How will we schedule holidays with our families?

Children
If we are unable to have children, should we adopt?
Do you anticipate raising our children (1) the same way you were raised (2) completely differently from the way you were raised (3) a mixture of both?
How long would you like to wait before having children?
Other than formal schooling, what types of education will our children get and how will they receive them?
When we have children, who will change the diapers, heat the bottles, prepare the meals, do the housework, bathe the child, get up in the middle of the night when a child is crying, take the child to the doctor, buy clothing, and dress the child?
What types of discipline would you implement to correct a child’s or a teenager’s behavior? Were these practices you experiences or are they new ones you have developed on your own?

Annoyances
If I had bad breath or body odor or wear dirty clothes, will you tell me? Should I tell you? Why or why not? How should we do it?
What is nagging? Do I nag? How does it make you feel?
DO you approve without reservation of the way I dress?
What does my family do that annoys you?
Would it bother you if I made body noises all the time, like passing gas or burping?
Is there anything you do in your line of work that I would disapprove of or that would hurt me?
Do you believe that you should stick with a marriage if you are unhappy all the time?
When do you need space away from me?

Communication
Whenever we have difficult feelings about each other, should we (1) remain silent, (2) say something as soon as the difficult feelings arise, (3) wait a certain amount of time before raising the issue, or (4) do something else? If so, what?
If you always say you are going to do something but never do it, what is the most effective way to bring this problem to your attention?
What did you admire about the way your mother and father treated each other?
What is the best way for me to communicate difficult feelings about you so that you are not offended?
Who should know bout the arguments we have?
What makes you not want to talk to me?
Do you feel you could communicate with me under any circumstance and about any subject?

Finance
What justifies going into debt?
What are all your current personal debts?
Do you feel stress when facing financial problems? How do you deal with that stress?
How often do you use credit cards, and what do you buy with them?
How should we prepare for a financial emergency?
Do you feel that lack of money is a good reason not to have children?
When our child is born, will he or she go to daycare or will one of us stay home to take care of the child? Who will it be?
Will we have a budget?
Who will pay the bills?
How do you feel about helping me pay my debts?
What are your feelings about saving money?
Do you prefer separate bank accounts or assets in different names? Why?

Miscellaneous
How would you rank all the priorities in your life: work, school, family, spouse, friends, hobbies, and chuch? Does your ranking reflect the amount of time you spend on each?
Are you closer to your mother or father? Why?
Do you prefer a set daily work schedule or flexible work activities and timetables?
What do you fear?
What influence, if any, do you believe my family should have on our relationship?
Do you believe that our parents should know our financial condition, whether good or bad, just because they want to? How far should this go?
What are your views on pornography?
How would you react if our son or daughter told us they were gay?
Do you harbor any racial prejudice?
How do you feel about having guns in our home?
Is there anyone close to you who feels we should not get married? Why? Should we this?
What health problems do you have?
Have you ever had any psychological problems?
When you are in a bad mood, how should I deal with it?
Do you like pets?

Date a girl who travels

One of my favorite articles of all time—written by Aleah Taboclaon

(I wanted to copy and paste the entire article and bold parts I can relate to, but the site didn’t allow me to copy and paste!) 

Here’s an excerpt, and you can find the entire article below using the link. Enjoy!

Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind than can take you places and an open heart that will take your for what you are, not for what you can be.

Date a girl who travels. You’ll recognize her by the backpack she always carries. She won’t be carrying a dainty handbag; where will she put her travel journal, her pens and the LED flashlight that’s always attached to her bag’s zipper? In a small purse, how can she bring the small coil of travel string, the wet tissues, the box of cracker, and the bottle of water she’s always ready with, just in case something happens and she can’t go home yet

(Original link: http://www.solitarywanderer.com/2012/02/date-a-girl-who-travels/)

Best relationship to have!

ACCEPTANCE RELATIONSHIPS. This is what many of us thought we were getting into when we entered a relationship, including many people in the three categories above.

In an acceptance relationship we trust, support and enjoy each other. And within broad limits, we are ourselves. But each of us has a good sense of which aspects of our personal selves lie outside those limits. I find ways to restrain myself from pushing those limits that erode your trust, strain your enjoyment, and weaken your support for me. When our expectations are not overwhelming, when the differences between our interests and inclinations are not too dissonant, and when our combative instincts are not too strong, a scripted relationship can evolve into an acceptance relationship. When there’s enough growth to keep us together and our insecurities allow for honest reassurances, a validation relationship can also evolve into an acceptance relationship. Valerie says, “Eventually Dave and I both realized we didn’t have to be phony as our major priority. We found much in common, and now we give and receive a lot with each other.”

"

I have been in relationships and there are times, delicate times, when a small move may save the relationship, or lack of move, breaks the relationship. If an experienced soul, just gives the hint, the relationship is saved.

Yes, we are afraid that relationships sometimes break for a trivial reason, and sometimes are strengthened for a trivial reason. Our life (boat) gets stuck either on this river bank or the other. a little push at the right time, ensures the boat has a safe and sound journey, and reaches its destination, safe and sound.

I thank all the experienced souls, who have given genuine advise, and saved a relationship.

"

Beef Burger (with guacamole), garlic fries, Chinese Chicken Salad with cornbread at Smart Alec’s Intelligent Food in Berkeley, CA: 3.5stars/5 


10 Quotes on Measuring Your Life

Source: http://gettingsmart.com/blog/2012/02/good-work-10-quotes-on-measuring-your-life/ 

by Tom Vander Ark

I bolded what stood out to me. (pretty much everything=P)

My friends from Innosight recently reminded me of Clay Christensen’s article How Will You Measure Your Life?  After a great weekend with my wife and friends, I reread it waiting for a flight. Here’s 10 quotes that made me stop and think.

On mission: “having a clear purpose in my life has been essential. But it was something I had to think long and hard about before I understood it. When I was a Rhodes scholar…I decided to spend an hour every night reading, thinking, and praying about why God put me on this earth.”

On learning: “if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited

On humility: “you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too.”

On impact:  ”Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.”

On motivation: “the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements.”

On leadership: Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.”

On time: “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

On family: “If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and confidence that they can solve hard problems…You have to design them into your family’s culture—and you have to think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.”

On principal: “it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time…You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”

On measurement: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

Bill’s Cafe in San Jose, CA: California Omelet 4/5 stars 

Casa Lupe Restaurant in Campbell, CA: Enchiladas Montada 3.5/5 stars 

Left: Banana cream tart at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, CA

Right: Tres Leche at Pink Elephant in San Jose, CA

Early 20s

Source: http://therumpus.net/2011/02/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-64/

I bolded what stood out to me:

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Love,
Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom,

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

In the middle of the night in the middle of your twenties when your best woman friend crawls naked into your bed, straddles you, and says, You should run away from me before I devour you, believe her.

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.

When that really sweet but fucked up gay couple invites you over to their cool apartment to do ecstasy with them, say no.

One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor of your apartment with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in this spunky way that you think is hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.

Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.

You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.


The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.