Choose People, Don’t Chase Circumstances

Life is a series of events that we go through. Often, we try very hard to control what those events will be. Or at least we try to make sure certain positive events are part of the list. Those positive events could include having a company we work for IPO, winning a prize, getting married, buying a boat, etc.

In order to maximize the chance of us experiencing one positive event, we often willingly subject ourselves to many negative ones. This could mean studying for a test in order graduate college, working long hours to get a promotion. Of course, the terms positive and negative are subjective. However, we can all substitute some positive and negative events into this equation based on our own definitions.

How do relationships with other people fit into our calculus on experiencing positive events? This gets complicated, but our relationship with various people usually pulls us through many of the positive and negative events we experience. A family member could get very sick and need a tremendous amount of emotional and financial support.  A childhood friend could Vinny Chase and pull his friend group along for fame, fun and business deals with Mark Cuban.

How are we supposed to navigate the complicated, connected maze of people, circumstances and the pursuit of happiness*? Well, I have no idea how to answer this question generally. However, nothing has been more rewarding to me than sticking with people regardless of the circumstances we pull each other through. Sometimes those have been very happy, sometimes they have been very difficult. However, picking people and sticking with them regardless of their present circumstances has been one of the most meaningful things I’ve discovered so far in life. In many ways, that is the promise of family: sticking with people whatever the cost. With friends, you can pick them; with family, besides a spouse, luck assigns them; you pick some coworkers and get others from luck. Not sure how to sort this out, but choosing the right people and then being loyal to them regardless of the cost seems to be the most meaningful thing I have found in life, so far.

It is hard to know, but I suspect that over the decades this will become a cornerstone of my life’s philosophy as I refine what it means.

*whatever the hell that means


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