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April 2015

The 10 rules of a perfect relationship

Life may be short, but it is too long to commit to somebody who isn't perfect for you. If you are with somebody, then obviously you are attracted to each other and you enjoy each other's company. But you're probably also asking yourself whether your current partner is "the one". How can you know for sure?

No relationship is perfect, but none of us should settle for something that doesn't come at least close. So what would a perfect relationship look like? Here are my 10 rules of the perfect relationship:  

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1) Get crazy with sex.

As many people who exist on this planet, that's how many variations there are to sexual desires and tastes. There is no normal. So, if you love and accept someone fully (see rule 5), then nothing is out-of-bounds. When two people get together, the sex life they create is something that is completely unique to these two genetic mutations clashing together in their primal, irrational passions. If you aren't compatible sexually, get ready for a lot of pain and misery. Unfulfilled sexual desires lead to cheating (at worst) or feelings of resentment and withdrawal from the relationship (at best).

Sex is a really big deal for most of us. While it is impossible to meet someone with exactly the same sexual desires and tastes, you do need to be with a person who gets you, accepts you, and embraces your sexuality (and vice versa). Let each other play and explore. As Dan Savage says, be GGG (good in bed, game for anything, and giving). With this foundation, you might figure it out. Without this foundation, you'll feel stuck and frustrated. Create a space where both of you can be totally honest about sex (yes, even the craziest, most absurd thoughts and ideas). Go for it...together. If you can give your partner everything, you'll never lose that person. So why draw lines in the sand when it is so much more fun to play in the sand? 

2) Grow together.

This is the measure of any relationship (not just sexual or romantic). If a relationship doesn't encourage individual growth, then it runs against nature and it is harmful. The point of our lives is to become the best we can be as individuals. If you aren't growing, you're stuck. When you're stuck, you're wasting your life. Go forward together. Get rid of any friction that is only caused by selfishness, controlling behavior, or jealousy.

3) Make each other happy.

If you apply the other 9 rules, this one happens automatically. This is a rule only because it should be a litmus test. Are you happy?

4) Be nice to each other all the time.

No swearing. No yelling. No accusations. No bossing each other around. No scolding. No ridicule about anything. Treat your partner like you did on the first date (or first chat?)...you know, back when you were trying to seduce each other.

5) Offer each other unconditional love and acceptance.

There is no need to negotiate anything if you offer each other everything. Anything less than unconditional love and acceptance is something less than love. If you don't love every single thing about the person, then why exactly do you claim to love the person? Can you love half of a person, or does love require the love of a whole person? Do you love only your imaginary idea of the person, or the real person? Love is unconditional. 

6) Make it safe to communicate about anything and everything without consequence.

If it is expressed, then obviously your partner feels that it was important enough to say. If you get angry and cannot accept what your partner is telling you, then you are rejecting your partner. How can you ask each other to spend each day together for the rest of your lives if you are willing to fundamentally reject each other? Conversation has to be safe. Action requires consent, but any thought that can possibly be expressed by the person you love is a thought that you need to accept and even embrace.

7) Don't cheat and deceive. you only cheat yourself.

The most direct path toward getting what you want, even when your partner forbids it (which should basically never happen) is to cheat. I don't need to explain how cheating destroys everything. The biggest problem with deception is your own feeling of isolation. You will experience that thing you want, and then you will suffer excruciating loneliness.

If you get caught deceiving, you will break everything. Without basic trust, what do you have? Even if you manage to get away with a deception, you will isolate yourself because you can't talk about what you are going through with the closest person in the world to you. So if you feel strongly enough about something that you are considering deception or cheating, then you need to take a risk and talk with your partner. If this ends the relationship, then it is for the best.  

8) Become business partners and partners-in-crime.

If you have created an emotional foundation with the previous 7 rules, now you need to think of each other not just as friends and lovers, but as business partners. Sharing a life together is a business relationship on top of everything else. So deal with financial realities together. Grow your bank account and wealth as you grow your love.

9) Set each other free.

Time spent with your partner should be the experience of freedom. While the rest of the world may not understand you, others may ask of you what you're not prepared to give, they may punish you for being who you are, and may tell you that you are unreasonable...your partner is that one place you go to be free. Don't set rules because you "can't deal" with something. If you "can't deal", then you can't be in a relationship. So communicate. Learn to accept. Take pleasure in your partner's happiness. If you allow your partner to be free, you are allowing your partner the chance to be everything he or she was meant to be and was meant to experience. Watching your partner experience freedom is the same thing as watching your love and attraction grow.

10) Take on the world together.

Anyone who is against either of you is against both of you. Fuck 'em. Take each other's side no matter what.

If there are any rules that you think I left out, please post a comment!

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Employment or Entrepreneurship?

Money is critical, but so is freedom. What about the need to feel important? Of course you also want to feel secure and stable. Earning a living requires a choice between two radically different paths; both of which come with very different benefits and drawbacks. The fundamental choice is between employment or entrepreneurship. 

Of course the most common path is to work for someone. To be employed is to give away your productive time for the promise of security and perhaps some amount of prestige or status. The problem is that anything achieved through employment is transitory. Nothing can be riskier than relying solely on one employer for all of your income. What may once feel stable can disappear in an instant with little or no reason at all. When your employment contract has ended, you are left in a state of panic as you face monthly expenses based on on your former income.

As for status or importance, whatever sense of status you may have felt within a job is stripped from you as easily as your livelihood when the devastating decision is made to let you go. To the outside world, you're only as good as your current position. The tragedy of employment is that we dedicate our lives to a career only to find ourselves scrambling to hold onto it. But it should be said that, while the job lasts, at least you can rely on a paycheck and you can believe that life is good. For most people, this is enough.

For most of my career, I've earned a living as an employee. But for these past two years, I have relied entirely on my sales agency to earn a living. During this time as an entrepreneur, I have come to understand that running your own business brings as many challenges as it does benefits.  

Let me explain the pros and cons of entrepreneurship:

Pro: You are free to do what you want with your time. It is an amazing feeling to have the option of mountain-biking on a Monday morning without any risk of consequence.

Con: You can only enjoy your freedom if you are able to manage the business properly and avoid stress and worry. Some months, you may not generate enough income to pay your expenses. Other months, everything is great. I do my best to manage this stress by diving into my "other world" (playing guitar, writing, mountain-biking, going to the gym, taking walks, etc.).  I've also found that meditating every day helps me avoid the peaks and valleys.  But I do sometimes lose sleep at night from worry.

Pro: Unlimited earning potential. This is really what it is all about.

Con: You have to invest not just hard work, but also capital. Owning your own business means becoming an investor. How much money do you put in with the expectation of making how much in return? How safe is the investment? What are the risks? Is the business model sound? Are the customers satisfied? With unlimited earnings potential comes a need to risk money, time, and energy (see previous point about stress and worry).

Pro: Not having to answer to a boss. Answering to a boss means playing politics. In a job, so often we do what we are asked to even when we know it isn't the best way to complete the task. Our goal is perception and self-preservation. I have found this to be a really unhealthy distortion. Living this way runs against my nature; which is to solve problems in the best possible way and work in the most efficient / productive way.

Con: Business owners have to answer to customers. While we don't fear losing a customer the same way an employee fears losing a job, the fear is still real and it is multiplied across your entire customer base.

Ultimately, running your own business is a difficult path even if you succeed! It isn't for everyone. Running a successful business is a chance to live the dream of wealth and freedom. But it is also a lonely path filled with stress, worry and at least as many failures as successes. Some days, having a job looks like a far better option!

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).