“I found the love of my life!”
How many times have you heard this? Not much? Ok, well how about this one: “He/she just isn’t right for me. It didn’t work out.” In my experience, I hear the latter far more often than I’d like to. Granted, finding someone whom you like who also likes you is a tricky business. But there is a way to make it manageable.
First, it’s important to understand two fundamental truths.
1. You are going to die.
2. Love exists.
With these two extremely potent facts about existence, you can dramatically alter your life and take control over yours.
Let’s tackle death first. Here’s a simple way to check your average lifespan given statistically analyzed factors by UPenn’s Wharton School of Business: (http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html).
Let’s say for now that you, like me, have around 80 years on this planet to live. And if you’re old enough to be reading this, you have about 2 billion heartbeats in you to put to use. So – what are you going to do with them?
Here’s where love comes in.
There’s a beautiful truth about life. About your life, actually.
At this very heartbeat, – someone alive, someone on this planet IS best for you. Guaranteed.
I’ll clarify. There is a person at this precise moment who exists, who can make you more happy in your years alive than any other person. He/she exists. Let’s do a simple experiment to prove this point: lets say there are only ten people left on Earth, and you’re stuck in a room with them for an hour. In this situation, it’s easy to grasp the idea that there is technically “one” person in this room who is best for you, meaning can make you happiest and split his/her genes with you successfully, in the span of that 1 hour.
Yes, for the first 10 minutes, maybe one person can make you happiest, and for the last 20 minutes someone else. But when looking at it from a satellite- eye view, there is only one person who can cause the most overall happiness.
Now, in this example, it could very well seem smart to optimize and get 10 minutes here with one person, 20 minutes there with another, to get the most possible happiness from as many people as possible at different moments based on that instant of judgment… especially since there wouldn’t be much time to take control and make a plan on how to find the best person for you.But let’s step back to real life. Take this thought experiment and extrapolate to a bigger room (the planet) and a longer time period (80 years). Logistically, you could do the 10 minute-20 minute scenario, which translates to dating here and dating there. But most people fail to realize the problem with this model – the law of marginal utility. People don’t want to be dating at 60 years old. You can’t have kids past a certain age. And if you have kids with several people without being a part of the child’s life, not only do you have less impact on that child’s development and hence contribute to a lower fidelity model (a child less like you… and hence getting further from your genetic line of influence), but if taken to its limit, you’ll have tons of kids around the world who you’ll have to vicariously support without being a part of their lives –most definitely not contributing to your happiness or success.
Fortunately, there is an alternative. Consider the room again. If you spent the first 10 minutes remembering all the things you really like about people (similar values such as honesty because denying reality results in pain, intelligence because understanding reality promotes evolutionary success and happiness, angry eyebrows because they’re sexy) and then spent the next 10 minutes searching the room, you would’ve had a much better shot at having 40 minutes of pure bliss.
We can do the math, but in essence, even just those 40 minutes result in a far greater payday than abbreviated, transient interactions with a large quantity of people.
Of course, there is some ratio: if you spent 55 minutes thinking about what you like, 4 minutes searching, and 1 minute with the best of the 10, it probably wouldn’t beat 10 minutes with six different people. So in real life, what is the threshold? Well, if you want to have kids – ladies,you know the age past which giving birth becomes complicated. Guys and girls, you know the age past which you don’t want to be alone without anyone to share your life with (and if you don’t, it’ll kick in anyway… the goal is to find the right person at the peak of your search and ability to share values independently so as to not lower your standards from loneliness.
You can’t search for a 5-star Mexican restaurant while getting used to eating Taco Bell everyday, but if you don’t eat for days searching for the epic restaurant, you starve and become willing to eat anything. Find the balance)
Think. Let’s do some math. Say I spend two nights a week meeting women. 15 women per night, 30 women per week. Approximately 50 weeks in the year, we’ve got 1500 women per year. Over the next 10 years, 15,000 women. There are approximately 3.5 BILLION women on this planet. Yes, excluding certain age ranges and a few other criterion there is a more select group.
But it’s sizeable. Do you want a biological clock to start ticking and determine who you get to talk to, sleep with and SHARE HALF YOUR GENES WITH FOR BABIES for the rest of your life? Out of a subset pool of 15,000? Just choose the nicest person? The hottest one? What is the chance that the best person for you is at THAT bar on THAT night and you have THAT conversation? Take control of your destiny, and if anything… do it for the kids.
Many times people voice the vacuous claim, “if you can’t account for all the variables, why account for any at all” or in simpler terms, since you can’t know everything why know anything at all? It’s hard to find the “One”. I know. We can’t yet account for every variable and there are factors outside of our control.
But why do we not carry an umbrella outside when it’s sunny? Because we look at the evidence of reality, understand weather patterns and integrate the information, and then act deterministically on inductions from laws abstracted from our original deductions. Yes, sometimes it’s sunny and we end up carrying an umbrella anyway, we get it wrong sometimes. But does that mean we never check the weather channel? Are we to carryumbrellas in clear blue skies in case we’re wrong and suddenly lightning might strike us? No.
The more you understand what experiences caused you happiness and why, the closer you get to finding your love. She likes science? Then chances are that she won’t be at church on a Sunday but might be at the library or under the stars in the field nearby. And if this is what it comes down to, it’s a lot better to take those “10 reflection minutes” and “10 hunting minutes” to get your “40 bliss minutes” or maybe even “40 really good minutes than 60 mediocre minutes” and get as close as possible to the upper limit of your One, than it is to compromise and spread/lower your standard to be met by sheer quantity to mitigate loneliness in brief moments of escape only to wake up one day, if not everyday, wondering where all the heartbeats went.
Now that you KNOW your love is out there, the question becomes, how badly do you want him/her? Given the alternative, short-momentary bursts of pleasure and temporary escape from loneliness, the decision becomes clear. But yes, this quest comes with consequences. It is hard at the top, and it takes focus, dedication and a very deep belief not only in the utility of the love of your life, but also in your ability to find him/her. Fortunately, it becomes the easiest thing to do when you realize what’s at stake, and what’s in store for you. One life, one love. Make it happen.
Do whatever it takes to hit the spot for you. I believe in your story because I believe in love.
Listen to Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. Watch Disney, Bollywood movies and romantic comedies. Read about Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Talk to me. And perhaps most importantly, keep your eyes open, keep looking, stay strong, and find the love of your life so that you too can profess in complete and absolute joy ––