Life requires you to learn and then balance two foundational skills: how to choose how you want to live, and how to live with what you choose.
--- Anthony Silard
This week, reflect on how you wish to live in this area of your life so you can later live with what you choose.
About ten years ago, I was wrestling with my inner demons about commitment and went on a walk along the Potomac River outside of Washington, DC with a close family friend who had been married to his wife for over forty years.
“How have you managed it,” I asked him.
Robert looked at the turbulent rapids and thought for a while. Then he said, “I think the best advice I ever received was from my aunt, while I was fixing my tuxedo just before Charlene and I were married.”
He had my attention. “She said, ‘Robert, always remember this: Whatever Charlene does, just give. No matter what happens, always give. And you two will be fine.’”
Robert helped me to understand what marriage truly means: commitment to giving to the other person through thick and thin.
Challenging advice to hear at the time. When you’re single, it’s all about you: choosing how you want to live. That’s what you need to do: go exactly for what you want (without stepping on anyone along the way) because later you’ll be living with your choices.
As Robert’s aunt illumined, it’s not about you anymore once you’re married. Especially once you have kids.
Don’t get me wrong: you’re still important—the way a servant is important. You are still a human being, but not one that’s being served anymore; instead, you are now serving others.
In so doing, you enable your potential future spouse and children to build their lives around you. This is both the rawest and most rewarding form of leadership available to humankind.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.