15 Feb #5 Integrated Life: Find Love Through Integration
Reading time: 5 mins
Most people compartmentalise their lives, and don’t consider an integrated life…
We have work 9-5. When we come home we have family time. Fridays is TGIF (maybe you go out to happy hour). Then on Fridays and Sundays we go to Church, Mosque or Temple. Saturdays are your day off. Monday is the day you don’t like (everybody hates Mondays supposedly). Holidays are the days you enjoy life. Those are parts.
When I was a little kid, I was like, “What kind of life is it, that you are always looking forward to Friday, as an escape from a job that you hate, and Monday is a day you’re always dreading, because you’re going back to a job you hate.”
This new approach I want you to consider, is that when you break life apart like that, you actually don’t end up with parts. The life that I think you want if you’re here reading this, cannot be compartmentalised as much as people think. There are components and elements, but they’re not separated, they’re integrated.
This is the integrated life.
There are four pillars of life: health, wealth, love and happiness. I want you to think of them as four interlocking cogs – if you got rid of one, they would all fall apart.
They cannot be detached from each other as much as people think.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon says, “Great people pick something and commit to it for real with passion.”
No matter what you believe, you should own it.
I try and stay away from talking about Religion and Politics, but I think Religion is relevant here… If you’re Muslim and your day of worship is Friday for you, that’s not an integrated life. If you’re Hindu or Sikh, or Buddhist and your day of worship is Sunday for you, that’s not an integrated life. It should be part of your whole life. Whatever you are. If you say you’re Hindu, Muslim or Sikh, then Monday should be the same as Sunday. Friday should be the same as Thursday.
This is how I measure my success…
Ask yourself, “How closely do I look at a calendar?” My life is so integrated, sometimes, I want to forget what day it is!
There’s an ancient spiritual proverb: ‘To inherit the kingdom, you have to be reborn as a child.’ Kids are happy. My niece is 5 years old. She doesn’t know what day it is. For children, every day is a new day. Every day is integrated for them. They haven’t yet separated and compartmentalised life. My niece just wakes up and it’s life. There’s no Monday, and Monday is no different to Tuesday. Now I’m not saying you and I should become naïve and become like little kids, we do need some routine. But there should always be some routine, but to the extent that you can de-compartmentalise your life.
You and I must de-compartmentalise our lives.
We don’t necessarily need to simplify life, we need to integrate life. Friends, coworkers, members of our community; there should be no separation. I know people who live in Birmingham and they go to work in London. They commute every day. Every day! Listen, you should aim to have everything within two miles of each other. This is the two-mile rule. Your supermarket. Your office. Your dentist. I live by that. That’s an example of integrated life. If things are separate, bring them together.
People ask me what I do for a living. I’m like, “I just live man.” My life is my work and my work is my life!
People talk to me about going on holiday three or four times a year for a break. We get excited about our four or five weeks annual leave – “Holidayyyy! Yayyyyyy!” What that says to me is, if you’re looking forward to your four weeks off, that means you have 11 months that you hate. Sounds like a bad deal to me! I’d rather have zero holiday and 12 months that I like. That’s how I look at it. I’d rather have a life where everyday is a good day versus hating 11 months and I just looking forward to holidays. I think that being excited about your annual holiday is indicative of big problems.
I want you to be excited the majority of the week. We should be tap dancing out of bed.
So, if the Integrated Life is what we should be seeking, practically what should we be looking for? For you, I think I can guess what the excellent life is:
1. Health: Physically fit.
2. Love: Friends, family, and romance.
3. Wealth: Financially stable.
4. Fulfilment: From purposes larger than yourself.
Let’s explore these…
“Everything comes to him or her who hustles while they wait” – Thomas Edison
For me, I go to the gym, but you should also have a gym in your house. While you’re around the house, ‘while you wait’, why not integrate exercise? I am fortunate to have my own gym. If you sit all day in a cubicle 8 hours a day, even two hours in the gym won’t offset the health problems that come from this – you can’t separate life man. Your physical health has to be integrated with your work. Now, there are practical limitations to this. I’m not suggesting you sleep, work out and work all at the same time ?
My point is, the more you integrate, the happier you will be, because things will come naturally and you won’t have to think or make drastic changes to better your life.
I meet a lot of people who say… “Hey Kam, if I work as you talk about, if I put in these long hours, how will I ever date somebody?” That’s a linear reductionist mentality. You’re self-sabotaging yourself man. Why can’t you bump into people through work? That doesn’t mean dating your colleagues – hell no! But through work, you will usually be around people. I meet people everywhere and all the time – literally. While I’m on my way to work, out for lunch, on my way home. Integrate it – What a concept man!
Lieberman, the Harvard Professor says, our brains are so hardwired from a biological stand point, that we will always, always need human interaction.
“Here’s my dating website, that’s when I’m going to date, and over here is my everyday life.”
There is some truth in that, but it should only be one way to be social. I know people on Tinder who only meet people on Tinder. I know people online, who only meet people online. Each of these should be one of many strategies you use.
Most people still believe in the Hollywood mentality: You’re going to be in Starbucks, you’re going to turn around and bump into the girl or guy of your dreams and then you’ll both live happily ever after. That’s a fantasy for most of us – it’s never going to happen! The truth is, love, relationships and social interaction come mostly through integration.
Some people marry someone they grow up with. This is another example of the Integrated Life. Those couples who went to nursery, primary school together, family friends, statistically I read, stay married the longest. The number one category where they met, was old childhood friends. This is called companionate love.
New friends are good, but old friends are better. Friends that you’ve grown up with. I tend to stay away from this separation stuff: “This is my friend and I only hang around with him on weekends.” Your dopamine levels go up when you see people that you already know – that trust factor counts for something. There’s an integration value there when your friends aren’t compartmentalised either.
You don’t have to change your life tomorrow, you don’t have to quit your job tomorrow, you don’t need to build a gym in your house tomorrow. You can start slowly, but you can make a change today!
“Be quick, but not in a hurry” – John Wooden
Be quick but not in a hurry – what a concept! Act immediately. Integrate your life man.
You don’t need to beat yourself up if you can’t integrate all areas of your life.
But I do want you to start to do is ponder. Begin to form some new habits. Some momentum. 18 months, as the Harvard Professor, Peter F Drucker says, is a good amount of time to develop and execute these changes – you’ve got no excuses!
Make your spare time the same as your everyday time.
Leonardo Da Vinci loved to paint, it was his life. So do what you like. If your life is music, make your whole life music.
What I realised was, the less you look at a calendar, the less you say: “These are the days I meet with my friends, these are the days I do my work, these are the hours I do my workout, these are the times I date and meet people.”
The more these things are integrated together; the more they are bumping together. Your happiness will increase, your dopamine will increase, your productivity will increase, and your focus will increase. Many people aren’t focused. They’re lives are too scattered. Remember, don’t be like everyone!
If you feel lonely, link your health and love life. Join a meet-up group of people that go jogging. Go mountain climbing. Relationships will form.
Link two together (try health and love), then three (health, love and wealth), and then all four (health, love, wealth and happiness). The Holy Grail man!
Think hard on this topic.
This is foundational for you to understand. Our minds know we are being hypocritical to ourselves.
People who are happy, they own their happiness. I want you to pick something and own it.
Love, integrate it with health, wealth and happiness.
Q: What are two things that you have not integrated well in your life?