(a post from 2008. Still valuable. Touches on that “I don’t have to run faster than the bear. I just have to run faster than YOU” that is such a part of the real world)
“I’ve always felt that men and women with a wretched relationship history are merely externalizing something damaged within themselves. There are plenty of great men and women out there. The fact that statistics show a shortage of one or the other in some specific age range, income range, or context has a lot to do with groups, but nothing at all with individuals. The question to ask isn’t “why are 20% of X unmarried” but rather “why am I in that 20%?” Personal responsibility kicks in the exact same way it would if the issue was getting a job, or protecting your health. SOME percentage of any group is always in trouble. The truth is that you don’t have to be the best in your field to be employed. Just be in the top 20%. The top 20% in any field is always employed. The top 20% of your age bracket in fitness is in decent shape. The healthiest, happiest and most loving 20% of your gender have terrific relationships.
What does it take to get into the top 20%? Daily work and care (or good luck and good early education). Every day, think of your long and short term goals. Be certain that they are in alignment with each other, and with your deepest values and beliefs. Can you accomplish them in a loving way? Can you see how bringing them into reality will increase the net amount of light, warmth, and love in the world? What can you do today to bring those goals one step closer to existence?
Every day, learn one new thing to improve your career skills, your health, your relationship with self and others. One new thing.
Or conversely, every day peel away one lie. More on that tomorrow.”
Allow me to be even blunter. The worst unemployment rate in U.S. history was 25%, in 1933. That is horrible. But do you understand the implications? YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE IN THE TOP 20%. YOU JUST HAVE TO AVOID THE BOTTOM 25%.
And the same thing will be true in relationships. Aren’t enough X in your category? All you need is one, dammit. Let the statistics be someone else’s problem. My brother Patric Young has a great philosophy about work: “If there are only two jobs left in the world, I’m getting one of them.”
No one with THAT attitude, who constantly upgrades their skills at producing goods and services, who upgrades their understanding of marketing and sales with the intent to get into the top 20% is going to have much problem avoiding the bottom 25%. Spend 80% of your time thinking of the solution, only 20% obsessing on the problem.
Stop wanting someone to come rescue you. IT WON’T HAPPEN. NO ONE IS COMING. Yes, your ship will come in…but you also have to row out to meet it.