I’m trying something new this year with my blog, how I give presentations to clients and how I talk about the dating scene. I’ve always been honest, but I’m adding more brutal honesty about the bad stuff as well as the good.
I think when I first started being a Dating Coach, working for Love Systems, all I saw ahead of me was glitz and glory. I’ve had that, to be fair, but there’s been a lot of pain, frustration and tough times along the way as well; glory doesn’t come without getting your guts spilled from time to time.
A quote I read in a Vanity Fair article about Sean Parker (founder of Napster and now on the board for Facebook and involved with Spotify), who is someone who has been inspiring me a lot lately (and some of you might have seen Justin Timberlake’s version of him in the movie, The Social Network), hit this on the head:
It hasn’t been some kind of fairy tale for me. All of my success has been born of failure. Your childhood dreams are always tales of glory; reality is a lot messier and more dramatic.
I’ve definitely made some bad decisions in my life: things that ended up causing hurt and tough consequences for either myself or others that I cared about. As much as I regret the pain I did cause to people I loved, the truth is, I don’t really have any serious regrets about the actions I’ve taken in my life.
Everything you do connects together at some point to have significance in your life (here’s Steve Jobs on Connecting the Dots), even if you don’t see it immediately, or even for years.
Some of these bad decisions were big ones. Case study No.1: deciding to introduce two girlfriends I was in open relationships with to each other one night. Consequence: one of those girls ended up having sex with another guy in the nightclub we were out with that night; me being heartbroken and emotionally closing myself off for a long time.
Case study No.2: deciding to take a long tour of the USA and booking extensive travels away from home (London). Consequence: my father got sick at home and when the shit hit the fan, I wasn’t around to help out and be there for the people who raised me (thankfully, I am now, and he is doing a lot better these days).
Some of these bad decisions were smaller ones. Overly drunken nights out that made the next days painful or prevented me doing other things I should have been doing; sexual escapades that weren’t entirely sensible and led to social fallout with various other people in my life; and certain friends I made that I later questioned my choice with.
But these bad decisions, small and big, were all important. They all meant something in the end, and ultimately, led to better decisions.
Sometimes, making a “bad” decision is about satisfying an emotional urge; this might have difficult consequences, but there are times when it’s healthy for us in the big scheme of things. If we always acted like creatures of logic, life would not be quite as enjoyable.
(I’m always harping on about this book these days, but seriously, I really recommend reading Switch by Chip and Dan Heath for an interesting and useful perspective on emotions vs. logic.)
Happy Halloween everyone!