I’m not sure who has more of the above—a teenager getting ready for a date or a parent talking to him (or her) about dating!
No matter from whose angle you look at it, it’s a hot topic.
Whether a young person is in high school, college or already launched into their career, an independent social life can be the best of worlds and the worst of worlds. On one hand, there are so many new people to meet and things to do. On the other hand, it’s a time when many lives get derailed because they can’t handle the responsibility that accompanies this newfound freedom. Unfortunately, the consequences of these mistakes can be far reaching and life altering.
The fact is, even responsible dating comes with its share of challenges. That’s because: 1) many people define their own self-worth based on whether they’re “together” with someone and struggle with loneliness and doubt when unattached, 2) dating is a “trial and error” process with many dead ends or worse, and 3) there are two parties involved, each with their unique needs, goals, feelings, and interests. Two don’t always tango and it takes time to discover that.
So, what’s the best way to navigate this process? Encourage your young adult to try a 3D approach to dating—being: 1) Discriminating, 2) Discerning, and 3) Deliberate.
- Discriminating: In order for your dating to have worth and potential, you’ve got to be discriminating (i.e. highly selective) with your choices. The problem is, many people define their self-worth by whether they’re “with” someone, so they date for dating’s sake, often compromising their values along the way. The results are never pretty. Being a discriminating dater means:
- Knowing the qualities you admire and that attract you to another person; these are the characteristics that are right for you.
- If you don’t see a fit, moving on. Never waste your time on those you know are dead ends. It’s not only good for you, but it’s also the right thing for them.
- Above all, focusing on values and your ability to become best friends. Do everything in your power to emphasize the non-physical over the physical when you’re assessing your compatibility. Think BFF: Best friends first! Remember, love can be blind…at the worst of times!
I hope you’ll share these principles with a young adult in your life. Be sure to check back for my next blog in this series, where you’ll learn the second step in the 3D dating process—being DISCERNING…
What are ways you’ve found to help young adults develop discernment in their dating choices? Please share your ideas and experiences with us; this is a hot topic and we’d love to hear your input!
It goes without saying that love and a lasting marriage are two of the most amazing gifts life can bring. Finding that special someone you love, trust, enjoy, and with whom you want to spend your entire life is a wonderful experience, something most people hope for.
However, despite best efforts, many marriages eventually fail. The reasons are varied, but an often-preventable one is that they didn’t fully examine their compatibility (or lack thereof!) before tying the knot.
How can you determine if someone is right for you?
Frankly, it’s hard to think objectively when we’re smitten. We often dismiss cautionary words from parents and friends, even if they have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, by doing so, many people enter love relationships for the wrong reasons with the wrong person or at the wrong time. Inevitably, those kinds of relationships end painfully.
Because of the joy that comes from a successful love relationship and the painful consequences of a failed one, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before committing yourself to another person. Marriage is arguably the most important human relationship you’ll ever have, and ought to be treated carefully, cautiously, and respectfully. This means everything from understanding what love really means, gauging compatibility, ensuring that goals are in sync, respecting each other’s individual life while enjoying a strong relationship, and understanding the investment required for a successful partnership.
If you’re single, before even thinking of getting married, note the qualities that are really important to you in a partner—the deal breakers. That way, when that (potentially) special someone comes along, you can put him or her to the test and see if it survives.
What key areas ought to be evaluated for compatibility if your goal is a forever marriage? Try these ones for starters:
- Goals and dreams—near and long-term
- Values and character qualities such as integrity, respect, trust, empathy, commitment, and unselfishness
- Commitment to the partnership first, while also respecting individual needs
- Ability to satisfy emotional needs
- Spiritual life and religious affiliation
- Quality of communication
- Interests and activities
- Children—how many and when
- Finances—spending authority, risk appetite, and living within means
- Work situation for each spouse after you start a family
- Responsibility for household operations, meals, housework, etc.
- Living location
- Physical/intimacy desires
- Listening skills, temperament, and willingness to work together to solve problems
- Ability to handle constructive criticism and respect differences of opinion
- Personal motivation and commitment to excellence
- Personal vices and any dependencies
- Family history/relationship quality
Evaluations like these will take time, but isn’t your eventual marriage (and lifelong happiness) worth it? If the results of your investigation aren’t to your liking, it’s certainly better to know sooner rather than later. If you’re really serious about having a forever marriage, it pays to objectively evaluate your compatibility beforehand. If it’s meant to be, you’ll know it.
How important do you think compatibility is in a relationship? What are some ways you’ve discovered to determine if another person is right for you? Have you shared these thoughts with the young people or students in your life? Please share your insights and experiences with us; we’d love to hear from you!
Are you sabotaging your own success? If you’re a chronic procrastinator, chances are … you might be.
Procrastination is the act of putting off what seems like a mundane, intimidating, or unpleasant task to some (usually vague) future date, replacing it with a task or activity that feels more comfortable, exciting, or pleasant. This is not a genetic trait; psychologists tell us that procrastinators are made, not born. This is good news for procrastinators! Though it takes work and retraining, you CAN increase your follow through and productivity and multiply your chances of success.
As you may have already discovered, life becomes increasingly challenging for the procrastinator, especially when things get hectic. When we’re kids, most of the deadlines we face are school-assignment driven. However, that quickly changes when we’re in college and worsens precipitously with careers and family. Keeping it all together without missing deadlines becomes almost impossible when you juggle a million balls and chronically wait until the last minute to get things done.
What does procrastination sound like in your head? It says things like, “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow,” or, “I work best under pressure.” But, in fact, you don’t feel like doing it the next day and you don’t really produce your work best under pressure.
What does procrastination look like? It looks like distraction—which is particularly easy to come by these days. Most procrastinators actively look for distractions, especially those that don’t require a lot of commitment. Checking e-mail is a great example. It appears productive, but is often little more than a time-waster in the face of more important things that need to be done. And then there’s Facebook …
If you tend to procrastinate important tasks, here are five steps to help break this habit:
- Start by setting your deadline the day before your task is due. Then, simply work backwards by estimating how much time you’ll need and the number of days over which you’ll have to spread the work. Once that’s done, you’ll have your plan in place with a beginning and end and a series of in-between days with their required time allotments.
- Promise yourself some “feel-good” rewards at the end of your task. Often we procrastinate because the benefits of completing a task don’t seem beneficial enough when compared to the amount of work and time required. Increasing the “win” factor for yourself—even if only psychologically—can be motivating.
- Ask your friends to check in on your progress and hold you accountable—and to NOT accept your excuses. Peer pressure is another great motivator.
- Improve your ability to make decisions. Much procrastination occurs when decision-making skills are weak or underdeveloped.
- Regularly make and keep a “to-do” list so you can’t (conveniently) forget those unpleasant or intimidating tasks. And, be sure to block your time sufficiently to get the job done.
Once you practice these suggestions a few times, it becomes a piece of cake and you will be more effective. I have no doubt your success factor will shoot up exponentially: you’ll be a better student, a more valued employee, a more organized parent, and you’ll dramatically lower your stress level as well.
How have you learned to overcome procrastination and increase your productivity and effectiveness? Share your ideas and experiences with us by commenting below; we’d love to have the benefit of your insights and experiences.
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth
may be the best thing in the world for you.”
We’re just now coming out of the holiday season where the focus is often on joy, peace, love, and hope. That’s all well and good on a Christmas card, but we can’t gloss over the fact that, in the midst of all the cheer and goodwill, some people are going through very tough times. In our every day world, many are dealing with any number of personal tragedies or crises that are magnified during the supposedly festive season. Financial hardships. Divorce. Illness. Job loss. Estranged family members. You name it. Bad news can come at any time to you or me.
One of life’s greatest adventures is seeing what becomes of our trials. At our bleakest hour, it’s hard to fathom that something good might come of our challenges. Often, though, this is precisely what happens.
One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned (but certainly didn’t appreciate when I was younger), is that good things often arise from our most difficult times. It may take years for us to realize it, but our toughest times might be preparation for something better. Consider these real life examples:
- My wife’s health challenges prepared her to mentor others who are experiencing similar issues.
- Bombing my calculus final made me aware of my math limitations and motivated me to select a different (and better fitting) major.
- A difficult investment performance period taught me important lessons about humility and how to service clients in tough situations.
- A heart attack victim’s extended hospital stay gave him the needed time to reflect on his life and repair broken relationships.
- The employer who didn’t hire me conducted massive layoffs in the next year.
Periods of adversity don’t always turn out rosy, but it happens more often than you’d think. You just don’t know it while you’re living through it. Experience tells me that, more often than not, something good will come from something bad—even if it’s a needed life lesson. That’s why, even when things look bleak, I still hope for—and believe for—a happy ending.
When you’re experiencing a personal trial, it pays to consider that it might be preparation for something greater. After all, our greatest character growth comes from enduring life’s greatest challenges!
Consider some of the major life trials you’ve experienced. Are you able to see some good that came out of those periods? How was your character affected by it? Can you think of people you know who have experienced significant adversity? How has it shaped them for the better? Share your experiences and encouragement with our online community; we’d love to hear from you!