Final exam

The first question most people ask a stranger is, “What do you do?” Our identities have become what we do over who we are.

Success comes from career achievements rather than from relationships.

The average American will take off just 10.2 days from work for vacation this year, not including holidays. I suspect that number will be even lower for those running companies. For comparison, the average European will take six to seven weeks of vacation.

So why do we business owners and executives put such an emphasis on work in this country? The answer is that many people don’t realize what they are missing. Others measure their self-worth solely by their success in profits or growth.

But Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Have you taken time from your business to examine your life?

We build our businesses at a rapid pace, but if you look at how we are building relationships in this country, we tend to be declining faster than ever.

I remember my parents telling me stories about when they were younger and how many relatives stayed in the same house and how close all the neighbors were.

Money wasn’t the priority, relationships were. People visited on their porches, kids played in the neighborhood and family was the most important thing. This was a way of life with a solid, fundamental foundation.

Today, everything has changed. Priorities are different; success and opportunity have become more important to us than the relationships that we were taught to value.

Houses are bigger but have fewer people inside. Neighborhoods are nicer but no one is outside. The porches are gone and the backyards have fences to keep people out.

We put old people in nursing homes because we are too busy to take care of them, and the younger people can’t wait to move out. If we don’t like our job, we quit. If we don’t like our church, we find a new one. If we don’t’ like our spouse, we divorce. If we don’t want our child, we abort it.

We reap what we sow in life. If we focus only on our jobs, we will reap the rewards and successes we are looking for, but at what price? If we don’t put effort into relationships, we will not reap happiness.

We invest time and effort into our businesses to make them successful. But as Socrates pointed out long ago, you have to do the same with your relationships or you will end up with a life not worth living.

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