• Patrick McAndrew

Relationships Are At The Bottom of The List

Relationships are a slow thing to build. It takes a considerable amount of time to go from strangers, to acquaintances, to friends, to close friends. Relationships can be messy and imperfect. While relationships can build empathy, awareness, and understanding, they are often not prioritized in the business world because they seemingly halt productivity and efficiency. People shouldn’t be wasting their time in idle chit-chat when they could be working.

A 75-year Harvard study that came out at the end of last year says something different. In order to have a happier and more fulfilling life, Harvard’s study suggests that we must focus on our relationships. They state, “True fulfillment in relationships is about genuine connection.”

We don’t prioritize our relationships because relationships are almost never “deadline and urgency driven.” It is super easy for our relationships to go to the backburner because they aren’t often prioritized over seemingly more important obligations. But that build up over time can drastically hurt a relationship in the long run. Like plants, relationships must be nourished regularly or else they will die a slow and painful death.

Take romantic relationships as an example. If two lovers find each other and are smitten by the other’s presence, nothing can stand in their way. It’s very rare that a couple who genuinely cares about one another will break up after a few days or a week. It’s only when one or both people in the relationship stop giving any attention to the relationship that it dies. They begin to prioritize other aspects in their lives that they have decided, either consciously or subconsciously, are more important.

While urgent tasks may seem more important in the moment, they aren’t in the long term. While I am all for living in the present moment, we must also consider how our actions of today will affect our lives tomorrow. If we get ourselves into the habit of valuing other “things” in the present, it won’t leave us feeling very fulfilled in the future.

If we were to look ahead 10, 20, or even 30 years into the future, will this report that’s due by Monday matter more than our kid’s soccer game? As we reach the older years of our life, it’s our relationships that we reflect on and feel grateful for. Material possessions don’t do much for us. And while money is important and provides comfort and stability, it’s the experiences we have with our friends and family that will have the greatest impact on our lives.

As I mentioned, I’m all for living in the present, but we must always keep in the back of our minds what we are doing in the present so that we can more likely enjoy our future as well.

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