5 Healthy Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Hurtful

It became very successful. A lot of people commented and a lot of people shared and big grown-up websites who get paid to post smart grown-up things asked me if they could copy/paste it, ostensibly to make a bunch of advertising money off people acting like assholes in their comment sections. I said, sure, why not?

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(I know, sell out.)

But the post also helped a lot of people. Since writing it, it’s generated a staggering amount of thank you emails, and no less than 20 people notified me that it inspired them to end their relationships (or even in a few cases, their marriages). It was the wake up call these people needed to finally let go and accept that their relationship was gagging them with a shit-spoon every day. And they deserved better.

(So I guess I’m a home-wrecker and a sell out. Sweet.)

But the article also elicited a lot of questions like, “So if these habits ruin a relationship, what habits create a happy and healthy relationship?” and “Where’s an article on what makes a relationship great?” and “Mark, how did you get so handsome?”

These are important questions. And they deserve answers.

Granted, I have far more experience screwing up relationships than making them work well, but I still wanted to take a stab at a “healthy relationship” post. I didn’t want to just make it a (yet another) “learn to communicate and cuddle and watch sunsets and play with puppies together” type post. You can find those posts just about everywhere. And honestly, those posts suck. If you love your partner, you shouldn’t have to be told to hold hands and watch sunsets together. This stuff should be automatic.

I wanted to write something different. I wanted to write about issues that are important in relationships but don’t receive enough airtime. Things like the role of fighting, hurting each other’s feelings, dealing with dissatisfaction or feeling the occasional attraction for other people. These are normal, everyday relationship issues that don’t get talked about because it’s far easier to talk about puppies and sunsets instead.

Puppies are cute but they don't make a healthy relationship
Puppies: The ultimate solution to all of your relationship problems.

And so I wrote this article. This is the first article’s bizarre twin brother. That article explained that many of our culture’s tacitly accepted relationship habits secretly erode intimacy, trust and happiness. This article explains how traits that don’t fit our traditional narrative for what love is and what love should be are actually necessary ingredients for lasting relationship success.

Enjoy.

1. LETTING SOME CONFLICTS GO UNRESOLVED

There’s this guy. His name is John Gottman. And he is like the Michael Jordan of relationship research. Not only has he been studying intimate relationships for more than 40 years, but he practically invented the field.

Gottman devised the process of “thin-slicing” relationships, a technique where he hooks couples up to all sorts of biometric devices and then records them having short conversations about their problems. Gottman then goes back and analyzes the conversation frame by frame looking at biometric data, body language, tonality and specific words chosen. He then combines all of this data together to predict whether your marriage sucks or not.

His “thin-slicing” process boasts a staggering 91% success rate in predicting whether newly-wed couples will divorce within 10 years — a staggeringly high result for any psychological research. His method went on to be featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink. Gottman’s seminars also report a 50% higher success rate of saving troubled marriages than traditional marriage counseling. His research papers have won enough academic awards to fill the state of Delaware. And he’s written nine books on the subjects of intimate relationships, marital therapy and the science of trust.

The point is, when it comes to understanding what makes long-term relationships succeed, John Gottman will slam-dunk in your face and then sneer at you afterwards.

And the first thing Gottman says in almost all of his books is this: The idea that couples must communicate and resolve all of their problems is a myth.

In his research of thousands of happily married couples, some of whom have been married for 40+ years, he found time and again that most successful couples have persistent unresolved issues, unresolved issues that they’ve sometimes been fighting about for decades. Meanwhile many of the unsuccessful couples insisted on resolving fucking everything because they believed that there should be a void of disagreement between them. Pretty soon there was a void of a relationship too.

People like to fantasize about "true love." But if there is such a thing, it requires us to sometimes accept things we don't like.
People like to fantasize about “true love.” But if there is such a thing, it requires us to sometimes accept things we don’t like.

Successful couples accept and understand that some conflict is inevitable, that there will always be certain things they don’t like about their partners or things they don’t agree with, and that this is fine. You shouldn’t need to feel the need to change somebody in order to love them. And you shouldn’t let some disagreements get in the way of what is otherwise a happy and healthy relationship.

The truth is, trying to resolve a conflict can sometimes create more problems than it fixes. Some battles are simply not worth fighting. And sometimes the most optimal relationship strategy is one of “live and let live.”

2. BEING WILLING TO HURT EACH OTHER’S FEELINGS

My girlfriend is one of those women who spends a lot of time in front of the mirror. She loves to look amazing and I love for her to look amazing too (obviously).

Nights before we go out, she always comes out of the bathroom after an hour-long make-up/hair/clothes/whatever-women-do-in-there session and asks me how she looks. She’s usually gorgeous. But every once in a while, she looks bad. She tried to do something new with her hair or decided to wear a pair of boots that some flamboyant fashion designer from Milan thought were avant-garde. And it just doesn’t work.

When I tell her this, she usually gets pissed off. And as she marches back into the closet to redo everything and make us 30 minutes late, she spouts a bunch of four-letter words and sometimes even slings a few of them at me.

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Men stereo-typically lie in this situation to make their girlfriends/wives happy. But I don’t. Why? Because honesty in my relationship is more important to me than feeling good all of the time. The last person I should ever have to censor myself with is the woman I love.

Fortunately, I date a woman who agrees. She calls me out on my bullshit sometimes, and it’s honestly one of the most important traits she offers me as a partner. Sure, my ego gets bruised and I bitch and complain and try to argue, but a few hours later I come sulking back and admit that she was right and holy crap she makes me a better person even though I hated hearing it at the time.

When our highest priority is to always make ourselves feel good, or to always make our partner feel good, then nobody ends up feeling good. And our relationships fall apart without us even knowing it.

It’s important to make something more important in your relationship than merely making each other feel good all of the time. The feel good stuff happens when you get the other stuff right. The sunsets and puppies, they happen when you get the more important stuff right: values, needs and trust.

If I feel smothered and need more time alone, I need to be capable of saying that without blaming her and she needs to be capable of hearing it without blaming me, despite the unpleasant feelings it may cause. If she feels that I’m cold and unresponsive to her, she needs to be capable of saying it without blaming me and I need to be capable of hearing it without blaming her, despite the unpleasant feelings it may generate.

These conversations are paramount to maintaining a healthy relationship that meets both people’s needs. With out them, we get lost and lose track of one another.

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3. BEING WILLING TO END IT

Romantic sacrifice is idealized in our culture. Show me almost any romantic movie and I’ll show you a desperate and needy character who treats themselves like dog shit for the sake of being in love with someone.

The truth is our standards for what a “successful relationship” should be are pretty screwed up. If a relationship ends and someone’s not dead, then we view it as a failure, regardless of the emotional or practical circumstances present in the person’s lives. And that’s kind of insane.

Shut up and jump already.

Romeo and Juliet was originally written as satire to represent everything that’s wrong with young love and how irrational romantic beliefs can make you do stupid shit like drink poison because your parents don’t like some girl’s parents. But somehow we look at this story as romantic. It’s this kind of irrational idealization that leads people to stay with partners who are abusive or negligent, to give up on their own needs and identities, to make themselves into imaginary martyrs who are perpetually miserable, to suppress their own pain and suffering in the name of maintaining a relationship “until death do us part.”

Sometimes the only thing that can make a relationship successful is ending it at the appropriate time, before it becomes too damaging. And the willingness to do that allows us to establish the necessary boundaries to help ourselves and our partner grow together.

“Shoot myself to love you; if I loved myself I’d be shooting you.”

– Marilyn Manson

“Until death do us part” is romantic and everything, but when we worship our relationship as something more important than ourselves, our values, our needs and everything else in our lives, we create a sick dynamic where there’s no accountability. We have no reason to work on ourselves and grow because our partner has to be there no matter what. And our partner has no reason to work on themselves and grow because we’re going to be there no matter what. It invites stagnation and stagnation equals misery.

4. FEELING ATTRACTION FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE RELATIONSHIP

Our cultural scripts for romance includes this sort of mental tyranny, where any mildly emotional or sexual thought not involving your partner amounts to high treason. Being in love is like a cult where you’re supposed to prefer drinking Kool Aid laced with cyanide to letting your thoughts wander to whether other religions may be true too.

As much as we’d like to believe that we only have eyes for our partner, biology says otherwise. Once we get past the honeymoon phase of starry eyes and oxytocin, the novelty of our partner wears off a bit. And unfortunately, human sexuality is partially wired around novelty. I get emails all the time from people in happy marriages/relationships who get blindsided by finding someone else attractive and they feel like horrible, horrible people because of it. Not only are we capable of finding multiple people attractive and interesting at the same time, but it’s a biological inevitability.

What isn’t an inevitability are our choices to act on it or not. Most of us, most of the time, choose to not act on those thoughts. And like waves, they pass through us and leave us with our partner very much the same way how they found us.

This triggers a lot of guilt in some people and a lot of irrational jealousy in others. Our cultural scripts tell us that once we’re in love, that’s supposed to be it, end of story. And if someone flirts with us and we enjoy it, or if we catch ourselves having an occasional errant sexy-time fantasy, there must be something wrong with us or our relationship.

But that’s simply not the case. In fact, it’s healthier to allow oneself to experience these feelings and then let them go.

When you suppress these feelings, you give them power over you, you let them dictate your behavior for you (suppression) rather than dictating your behavior for yourself (feeling them and yet choosing not to do anything).

People who suppress these urges are the ones who are likely to eventually succumb to them and give in and suddenly find themselves screwing the secretary in the broom closet and having no idea how they got there and come to deeply regret it about twenty-two seconds afterward. People who suppress these urges are the ones who are likely to project them onto their partner and become blindingly jealous, attempting to control their partner’s every thought and whim, corralling all of their partner’s attention and affection onto themselves. People who suppress these urges are the ones who are likely to wake up one day disgruntled and frustrated with no conscious understanding of why, wondering where all of the days went and remember how in love we used to be?

Looking at attractive people is enjoyable. Speaking to attractive people is enjoyable. Thinking about attractive people is enjoyable. That’s not going to change because of our Facebook relationship status. And when you dampen these impulses towards other people, you dampen them towards your partner as well. You’re killing a part of yourself and it ultimately only comes back to harm your relationship.

When I meet a beautiful woman now, I enjoy it, as any man would. But it also reminds me why, out of all of the beautiful women I’ve ever met and dated, I chose to be with my girlfriend. I see in the attractive women everything my girlfriend has and most women lack. And while I appreciate the attention or even flirtation, the experience only strengthens my commitment. Attractiveness is common. But real intimacy is not.

When we commit to a person, we are not committing our thoughts, feelings or perceptions. We can’t control our own thoughts, feelings and perceptions the majority of the time, so how could we ever make that commitment?

What we control are our actions. And what we commit to that special person are our actions. Let everything else come and go, as it inevitably will.

 

5. SPENDING TIME APART

Crazy girlfriend is not in a healthy relationship

You see it all the time: the man who meets his girlfriend and stops playing basketball and hanging out with his friends, or the woman who suddenly decides she loves every comic book and video game her boyfriend likes even though she doesn’t know how to hold the XBox controller properly. We all have that friend who mysteriously ceased to exist as soon as they got into their relationship. And it’s troubling, not just for us but for them.

When we fall in love we develop irrational beliefs and desires. One of these desires is to allow our lives to be consumed by the person we’re infatuated with. This feels great. It’s intoxicating in much of the same way cocaine is intoxicating (no, really). The problem only arises when this actually happens.

The problem with allowing your identity to be consumed by a romantic relationship is that as you change to be closer to the person you love, you cease to be the person they fell in love with in the first place.

It’s important to occasionally get some distance from your partner, assert your independence, maintain some hobbies or interests that are just yours. Have some separate friends. Take an occasional trip somewhere by yourself. Remember what made you you and what drew you to your partner in the first place. Without this space, without this oxygen to breathe, the fire between the two of you will die out and what were once sparks will become only friction.

The artist Alex Grey once said that, “True love is when two people’s pathologies complement one another’s.” Love is, by definition, crazy and irrational. And the best love works when our irrationalities complement one another and our flaws enamor one another.

It may be our perfections that attract one another. But it’s our imperfections that decide whether we stay together or not.

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HOW TO QUIT YOUR DAY JOB AND TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH FUN AND GREAT EXPERIENCE

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Four years ago on a sunny April morning, I slinked into my new office building, suit slightly too big, 24-years-old and clueless. It was my first day working at a large, prestigious bank in downtown Boston. The first day of the career that would ostensibly define the rest of my life.

 

I felt strangely powerful as I collected my new security badge and gained access to the sleek silver elevator. This was it. I was finally a real, live, functioning adult.

But that sense of power vanished once I was led to my new cubicle. Grey, sterile, joyless. I looked around and noted the smattering of other ambitious 20-somethings about me, awkwardly stuffed into cheap suits and business attire. Some worked furiously at their consoles, invigorated. Others slinked in their chairs, lifeless and a paper jam away from putting a shotgun in their mouth.

I would soon be one of the latter.

I sat, nervously sipping my energy drink as I waited for my new supervisor to come train me for the morning. She arrived around 8:30 AM and by 9 AM had shown me enough pointless procedures to make even the drabbest college textbook shout with a vibrant life in my memory. I woke up at 6:30 AM for this?

By 11 AM I silently asked myself when the soonest I’d be able to quit would be. I was two hours into my lifelong career choice of finance and I was already contemplating an escape route. “This is not a good sign,” I thought next.

I quit six weeks later.

How to quit your job and leave the cubicle hell

Image credit
: Ste3ve

I would love to tell you leaving the bank was one of those triumphant movie moments, where I walked out of the office with a sly smile and Kevin Spacey fist pump. The reality is that I felt like an idiot. I trembled as I put my two weeks in to my manager. When he asked what I planned on doing instead, my shaky reply of some sort of website blog thing sounded just as ridiculous to me as it probably did to him. By lunch, the news has spread around my team. Most of them were so confused, they awkwardly avoided talking to me and didn’t say goodbye. I imagine they believed I had just flushed my future down the toilet. Part of me believed the same.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking me how I manage to travel the world without holding down a so-called “steady job.”

The short answer is the internet. Before this blog, I ran a number of websites and projects that earned some money. Then I did some freelance work. Then I wrote a book. Then people started telling me to write more stuff and jump ahead five years and about 500,000 words and here I am.

Many people dream about dropping out of the rat race. They want to let go of the career ladder and find a way to spend more time doing what they love. I wholeheartedly endorse this life decision. Although I felt stupid when I left the bank and would spend most of the next two years scared out of my mind, broke, and working all hours of the day and night, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

There’s already a lot written out there in this area: quitting your job, making money online, starting a business, vagabonding around the world, etc. A lot of it’s great. But a lot of it doesn’t talk about the emotional realities — dealing with doubt, finding the motivation, addressing the strains on your friends and relationships. I want to paint a realistic portrait of this life change. There are a lot of challenges, both mental and emotional, but I encourage you to take the leap.

WHY YOU SHOULD TERRIFY YOURSELF

Honest question. Do you love what you do?

If the answer isn’t a resounding, knee-jerk, “Yes! I live for this shit,” then I encourage you to seriously consider doing something about it. That may sound extreme, but seriously, in 100 years you and everyone you know are going to be dead and your great-grandkids aren’t going to get misty-eyed remembering how you got that quarterly bonus or a corner office. This is your life and every breath you take is killing you. Stop screwing around.

Chances are the thought of leaving your day job terrifies you. This is normal and expected good even.

When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I made a little bit of money here and there online. It wasn’t anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly. And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naively) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months.

It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income. I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex-girlfriend for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money.

It was stressful to say the least.

People ask me what motivated me through this period. The answer is terror. Complete and unequivocal daily terror. I was absolutely terrified to fail. Granted there was some love in there as well (I loved my job and still do). But that’s also where the terror came from: the idea that I would never make money doing what I love; the terror that I’d have to go back to living off a job I hated; the terror that I would have wasted two years with nothing to show for it; the terror that all of my friends and family who thought I was crazy would be proven right.

This fear kept me up at nights, and more importantly kept me up at nights working.

I’ve met a number of people over the years who want to quit their jobs, to start their own businesses, to develop new streams of income. And they’re scared. Obviously. They should be. But instead of leveraging their terror into action, they spend all of their time planning and planning and planning and not doing anything.

80% of your plans are going to fail no matter what you do. Get used to it.

It’s not because we’re poor planners, it’s because there are simply too many unknowns. And the only way to uncover the unknowns and adjust for them is by getting out there and failing. So yes, you should be terrified of failing. And that is why you should do it anyway.

When I wanted to leave the bank, a number of friends and family members suggested that I continue to build my business on the side until I had a steady income. In hindsight, I think if I would have done that, I would not have made it. Giving up would have been too easy. I wouldn’t have had the time or energy necessary to do it. That ever-present fear motivating me would have been gone.

The terror that jumping in headfirst gave me was my most powerful asset. I was committed. I’d win or die trying. I sold my possessions (video games, computer, furniture, guitars — everything). I stopped most of my hobbies. I lost contact with a number of my friends. I knew all of these things would return once I became successful. But failure was not an option.

Intellect is great. Work ethic is great. Ability to adapt is definitely necessary. But you also need the emotional drive to push you to achieve your dreams. Everyone’s had the feeling where you know what you should do in your gut, feeling it and wanting it, but not having the emotional drive or wherewithal to actually get up and do it. So you continue sitting in the desk you hate day after day, year after year, waiting for something that’s never coming, trapped by your comfort and safe in your mediocrity.

Terrify yourself. Use it as your ally. Give yourself no option but your dream.

“There’s no reason to do shit you hate. None.”

PLANNING YOUR ESCAPE

OK, that’s all well and good, but let’s talk about reality. Especially if you have kids, house payments, car payments, student loans or health problems. What do you do?

1. SELL ALL YOUR USELESS CRAP AND GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER

Excess possessions are counterproductive for pursuing a remote lifestyle. And they’re often counterproductive for achieving happiness in general. If you own something that is eating away at you financially (furniture, car, etc.), consider cutting your losses and getting rid of it while you can. Debt is the devil. I wrote an entire post on getting rid of excess crap you don’t need here.

Doing this may make you squirm at first. Or you may be sitting there (once again) thinking I’m a total nutcase and unrealistic and you could never get rid of your super-double-upholstered Italian sofa that just ties the room together, but fuck you, sell it anyway. There are a million sofas in the world, your life experiences happen once. Get on it.

In extreme cases, this may involve selling your house. That may sound insane and may be completely unreasonable for you, especially if you have a family. If so, then rent it out. Obviously mileage may vary depending on who you are and what your life circumstances are. Why be miserable and financially stuck in a house when you can be happy and free in an apartment? Boom.

2. FIGURE OUT YOUR SOURCE OF INCOME

People seem to believe they’re trapped within the typical 9-to-5 career track, but in fact there are a lot of options. In the US, we’re rarely exposed to the options we have outside of our nation’s borders (minus the military). You just have to be willing to take some risks and work a bit harder.

Jumping over a wall
Image credit: Sam Judson

An incomplete list of options to get your ass abroad and exploring the world:

  • Join a volunteer organization. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and putting yourself in some extreme environments, then volunteer organizations, both NGO’s and otherwise (i.e., Peace Corps) are always looking for help. You’ll most often be sent to developing countries, but some developing countries are surprisingly pleasant to live in (Thailand, Colombia, Philippines, Peru, etc.). Once you’re on the other continent, bouncing around from country to country is rarely more than a $50 bus/train/plane ticket away.
  • Teach English. The pay is low and the work is hard, but this will get you a paid trip to another continent and often with really good vacation time. Asia and Latin America are the go-to continents for this with no experience or foreign language required. If you teach in Europe, you’re going to have to know the destination language at the least. A friend of mine taught English in South Korea for six months, took the money she made and went to India for three months, then taught in the Philippines for another six months and then bounced around Southeast Asia for a while after that. Not a bad experience.
  • Find a source of mobile income. Poker. Stock/options trading. Freelancing. Consulting. Internet marketing. Blogging. Graphic/Web design. Writer/journalist. These are all professions I’ve run into on the road. These are all forms of income which can be earned regardless of location (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few). Some of them have a steep and long learning-curve, but there’s never a better time to start than now.
  • Start an online business. This is a massive topic which other people can cover much better than I ever could, but internet startups can often be created and managed from anywhere. In fact, there are a number of startup “incubators” around the world where internet entrepreneurs congregate in places with high qualities of life and very low expenses (Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Medellin in Colombia, etc.).
  • Convince your company to let you work remotely. Not an option for everybody, but if you’re a programmer, developer or designer, then this could be an option for you.
  • Get transferred overseas. Another option if you work for a large international corporation such as Procter and Gamble or Yahoo! is to get transferred to various locations around the world. You can often gain a lot of vacation time by working in other countries as well which will allow you to explore.
  • Find odd jobs as you travel. This is easy in some countries and impossibly hard in others. But finding jobs in hostels, bars and restaurants in cities you travel to can be done to support yourself wherever you go. A number of people do this. It takes time and effort and obviously is quite stressful, but it can be done.
  • Work on a cruise or for an airline. Seriously. These people have amazing flexibility with their time at sea and where they get to go. I met a woman who worked on a cruise in Costa Rica and she had been to over 75 countries, living in a dozen for more than six months. She was in her early 30’s. Same concept applies to working for an airline but to a lesser extent (and far more jet lag)
  • Start your entire career abroad. In a number of developing parts of the world, particularly Asia, there’s an extremely high demand for university-educated Westerners for high-paying management positions. Countries like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Singapore, are importing a lot of western talent. Not only can a recent college graduate skip multiple rungs on the corporate ladder by moving to one of these countries, but they can see a major quality of life increase at a lower cost-of-living. Let’s just say that making $60,000 a year in Shanghai goes a LOT further than making $80,000 per year in New York City.

You can combine a number of these strategies. Sometimes you can just take off with your savings and begin to figure it out as you go. Someone can leave with their life savings, start a blog on the way, do some freelance consultant work online, work some odd jobs here and there, and by the time their savings run out, they have a modest location-independent income. But as always, Google is your friend. There’s no shortage of websites and resources on NGO’s, internet startups, marketing, expatriation, backpacking, vagabonding, etc.

3. CALCULATE YOUR “ESCAPE VELOCITY”

Do some research and choose your first destination(s). Do you want to try an internet startup in Asia? Work for an NGO in Central America? Backpack through Europe and pick up odd jobs on the way? A lot of people come to me and say, “I want to live abroad, how can I do it?” Well it depends where you go. You can live like a king off $1,000 in Thailand or the Philippines, or spend that much in a week in Brazil. It depends where you’re going and what you’re doing.

The other factor is your financial obligations. If you have debt back home you need to factor that in. If you have health problems, then you need to do a lot of research on that as well. The good news is if you’re an American, you’re going to save a LOT of money on health care by leaving the country.

Calculate the amount you need to earn passively per month to survive wherever you want to go. This may involve getting a job once you’re there. It may involve saving up a bunch of money now and selling stuff. It may involve creating passive streams online. Either way, budget it out so you know when you’re ready.

4. PULL THE TRIGGER

Once you know your target level of savings and/or location-independent income, work towards it with everything you have. This may involve killing your day job off immediately in order to free up more time to work for it. This may mean setting a financial goal for the day you can put your two weeks in.

Get creative and don’t have an ego about it. A friend of mine decided to throw himself into this lifestyle 100% and moved back in with his parents for almost a year before he got on his feet and running. I lived on a friend’s couch for a while. Later I moved back in with my mother until I had enough money to buy a plane ticket to Argentina. Once I was there I could live well off about half the income I needed to live in the US. From there I built my business up further.

But, like I said, planning will only take you so far. Plan the best you can, but then throw yourself into the fire. Leave yourself no option but to come out on top. It will be hard and nerve-wracking, but that’s how you grow. That’s how you squeeze all of juice out of life. Terrify yourself. Then laugh about it.

LONG-TERM TRAVEL COURSE

If you’re serious about this and want to really get into the nitty-gritty of building a life of long-term travel, you can check out my course, Escape Plan, that’s part of the membership to my site. I cover everything I know about travel and living and working abroad, from finding cheap flights to supporting yourself financially to making new friends in foreign countries. Living life with full of happiness, no regrets, enjoy at its fullest, helping others, and being great to yourself is one of the best thing we could do. Travel to different places will give you more rooms of experience, knowledge, ideas, meet with different people, know different cultures, great experience in life, and have fun in life.

Have You Talked To Your Virtual Assistants About Rogue One Yet?

Do you know what your virtual assistants do for fun?

Have you asked them about their interests?

Did you know that they paint, cook really well, or watch the same series and movies as you? A little something my friend bought for me from Japan. I still need to have it framed.

You are going to find out the most interesting things about your VA if you asked. They’ll be willing to share.

This is a habit that John (OnlineJobs.ph owner) has picked up over the years of working with us. He either asks us the fun stuff we’re up to recently, or we just openly share the information with him anyway.

I must admit, there was a time where it brought out paranoia. There was a time when I thought, oh my god, did I do something wrong? Why does he want to find out. Later on, I realized he just wanted to. He wanted to learn about his VA and the stuff I was interested in, and if it was something he found cool too, we would talk about it, and we would show off all the fun things we have about it.

dalek r2d2

Last week, John asked me about something I mentioned on my report. He asked me what a Dalek was. Well, the Daleks are only the most awesome and saddest villains of all time John!!! But really, according to Wiki, “the Daleks were engineered by the scientist Davros during the final years of a thousand-year war between his people, the Kaleds, and their enemies the Thals. With some Kaleds already badly mutated and damaged by nuclear war, Davros genetically modified the Kaleds and integrated them with a tank-like, robotic shell, removing their every emotion apart from hate. His creations soon came to view themselves as the supreme race in the universe, intent on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life.”

Watch the best Dalek moments here:

I’ve been crazy over this series for a while. I’ve been crazy over a lot of movies and series actually, and I like to buy stuff that remind me of these interests. Lately, I bought some Metal Works 3D Models and posted it on instagram. It’s a great hobby to start. You basically buy something that looks like this:

51odk47codL

And it transforms into this:

I made this all by myself. :)

When John saw it, he reacted the way no typical boss reacts. “It looks great. You should write about it.” He said. So here I am, playing with two of my toys, trying to get some inspiration for work.

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Prime Minister: Does it surprise you to know that Daleks have a concept of beauty?
The Doctor: I thought you’d run out of ways to make me sick. But hello again. You think hatred is beautiful?

Prime Minister: Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you.
R2D2: Beeeeeepp beeeeep dooot, wit wit doooooot!

It Doesn’t Have to Be an Awkward 1 on 1

You don’t have to schedule a call and start an interview. Go back to basics which is, your VA’s are humans. You can you know, talk to them. To make it easier for you, the new Star Wars movie Rogue One is showing. You’ll be surprised at how many Filipinos are crazy about Star Wars. In fact, we have Star Wars Fandoms everywhere.

If you think you have absolutely nothing in common because of the geographic differences, think again. I’m crazy about both Doctor Who and Star Wars, British and American legacies. And there are so many movies and series I watch, just like the other virtual assistants I know. So yeah, there’s bound to be something you can relate to. If not movies and series, then maybe the latest gadgets or food!

It’s as simple as that, start by asking about the newest show on air, or the new movie you want to watch. Who knows, you might be interested in the same things. You might get a better perception of how they do things, of what they are passionate about, of what makes them tick.

Why Do You Need to Talk to Your VA?

Talking with your virtual assistant doesn’t just make a better working relationship. You have to admit, there’s a point to the saying “Out of sight, out of mind.” Constant effort is necessary to remind yourself that hey, this is a real person. In return, your virtual assistant will also be reminded that I’m not just working for this email address or this business. There’s a person behind this business, and that person has a family, has friends, and bills he also has to pay for. He’s a real person like me. It reminds your staff, just like I am reminded, I don’t just want a business to succeed, I want this person, my boss to succeed.

 

You can register in the link here to sign up.

https://www.onlinejobs.ph/jobseekers/info/630796