Life is complex but some people go out of their way to make things even more difficult.
For instance: Imagine you are rich. You get married, then divorce 11 years later. You get married again, and get divorced again 5 years later. But you insist, get married again and this time you divorce 4 years later.
What is the lesson here? What you should NOT do next?
Welcome to Lothar Matthaeus’ life. His 4th marriage (to a 21 year old woman – he is 47) seems to be over now after less than 2 years.
Now I ask you: Why?
I hate Woody Allen but one of this quotes is that “80% of success is just showing up”. He is right in a weird kind of way. The more I live the more I see people who simply self-destruct. We are not talking about people who got sick, hit by a bus or lost a job in a bad time. I am talking about people who do that kind of thing that a sane person simply cannot understand.
I’ve worked on the software industry my whole adult life. Software projects are incredibly complex, and failure rate is way above any other kind of engineering. In order to control that, we have to learn several techniques to control risk. Simple things that help at least improve your chances of being successful.
Many of those can be used in our day to day life. The one I use the most might sound simplistic but it is incredibly powerful: define your goals before you do anything. Goals need to be specific and measurable. To say that “you want to be happy” really doesn’t mean anything because it can mean anything.
I am not only talking about long term planning (which everyone should do too). No, I am talking about simple things you do on your day to day life. For instance, let’s say you want to start exercising. What sport/activity should you pick? That is the time when you need to find you goal. Do you want to have fun? Lose weight? Get to know new people? Most times you want everything but part of the problem is to precisely understand that you have to prioritize. Otherwise the whole thing will be futile.
Maybe I should have started by saying that one cannot have everything?
I look around me and see people with much worse jobs that live in bigger houses and drive much better cars than I do. I wonder what was the thought process there. Do you think these people really understood the trade-offs involved in getting those things? If I could ask any of them what was the goal of buying a BMW would they be able to tell me? Or would they just say that “they wanted to be happy”?
What as Matthaeus looking for when he married his much younger 4th wife?
What is the definition of insanity again?
Some people might say that is impossible, that you can’t live your personal life in such rational way. What I say is that if you don’t stop to think and make your choices, you will make your choices without thinking. Everything is a choice, even the choice of pretending not to make one.
If you don’t know what to do, just don’t do it.