Who’s Got Your Ear?

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary over the weekend – 39 years of building a life and raising a family together. I’d love to say it’s all been awesome, but there’s a reason we focus on the end result instead of all the twists and turns along the way. And in our case, the end result has been more than worth everything it took to get here.

Except we haven’t reached the end yet. I like to think we’re just over halfway there. Because every day will bring new challenges and new accomplishments. Some of those days will be better than others, and some will be downright heartbreaking. But without those challenges, the successes would hardly be worth celebrating. They’d just be another day.

Marriage is like a lot of things in life. It begins with a dream, something we want enough to work for it. We dress up a bit, break out our best manners, show a little extra affection, and laugh at jokes that really aren’t that funny. We overlook flaws. We give up some of our free time. And we do it all without hesitation, because that’s how we find out if this is something we really want.

Then, there comes a point where we commit. We’re no longer just going out and having a good time – now we’re building a relationship, seeing just how far it will go. The good times get better, but we occasionally have to work through some disagreements. Things that would have sent us packing in the early days, but now we’re in too deep to just give up.

Finally, we’re ready to make the ultimate commitment. Till death do us part. That’s when all those friends who were so happy to hang out with the two of you are full of advice, and it’s not always positive. They think they’re doing you a favor. Your eyes are obviously so clouded with fairy dust, you can no longer think for yourself. Been there?

Marriage is one of a few things in life well-intended family and friends will try to talk you out of. Tell people you’re about to quit your job and move to another state, and you’ll get some feedback. Tell them you’re starting a business, and they’ll give you all the reasons it’ll never work. Tell them you’re thinking about joining the clergy and they may do a full-blown intervention.

And make no mistake – these people truly think they have your best interests at heart. They’ve been there. Or they have a friend who’s been there. Or they read a book by somebody whose cousin has a friend whose neighbor has been there. And, in every case, it ended in disaster. Otherwise, they’d just sit there quietly and pat you on the back.

If you wanted advice on advancing to the upper management of your company, would you ask someone who’s been steadily climbing the corporate ladder, or the office gossip who gets their jollies watching somebody else take a fall? Would you listen to the person who’s doing what you hope to do, or the one who can only offer a laundry list of reasons you shouldn’t?

When I wanted to learn to drive, I went to somebody who not only knew how, but could actually do it without causing an accident. When I wanted advice on relationships, I talked to my mom. When I wanted to learn how to be a comedian, I talked to touring headliners. And, here’s the thing – those people are all willing to offer their advice as well. But sometimes you have to ask.

Successful people are just as eager to share their insight as those who tried and failed, or who never tried in the first place. They may not be as loud, and they may not be as insistent. They don’t have to be. They’re too busy working on their own goals to waste time on somebody who isn’t willing to listen and learn. But if follow their advice, they can save you a lot of heartache.

A lot of people tried to talk me out of getting married. Okay, in all honesty, a lot more tried to talk my wife out of it. I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. I’d like to think my daughters and grandchildren feel the same. It hasn’t all been pretty. But even the Mona Lisa started with a smear of dark paint.

No matter what it is you hope to accomplish, learn from those who have done it instead of those who haven’t. Nobody who’s ever succeeded at anything worthwhile will try to convince you it’s not worth the effort. They know the challenges you’ll face, and they know how to help you through them. But most of all, they know the reward is worth the effort. And deep down inside, so do you.

That’s it for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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