Lifestyle
Decision-making to build wealth in relationships

OVERVIEW

Much of Relational Thinking addresses government policy and organizational practice. But it is just as relevant to individual decision-making about increasing “relational capital.”

CURRENT TRENDS

  • A Gallup survey in 150 countries (2010-2012) measured reported happiness. The world average was 5.1 out of 10, with most variation between countries stemming from per capita GDP, healthy life expectancy, and four relational factors (social support, life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity).
  • Only 17% of families had a parent working the “normal” nine-to-five week, according to a 2006 study by the National Centre for Social Research in the UK.
  • Three quarters of 25-29-year-olds sleep with their phones, according to a poll conducted in 2012 by Time Magazine.

RELATIONAL ISSUES

The challenge of chronomics

We often experience relational stress as time pressure. There just isn’t enough time to get everything done – bringing in an income, looking after children, keeping up with partner and friends. Important relationships can seem to pull us in opposite directions. So thinking relationally has a lot to do with the way we practice “chronomics” – the allocation of time to different priorities.

Connection and disconnection

Thanks to mobile technology, we’ve never been better connected, and connection over distance has brought many advantages in maintaining relationships. But we don’t have any more time than people did fifty years ago, and the more connections we have, the more diluted our attention becomes, and the less opportunity we have to build strong relationships with those who are most important to us.

The fixation on finance

Because Western culture focuses on finance as the bottom line, it’s easy to make everything subservient to the demands of the workplace.  Money can be counted.  We even measure relationships in money, in the sense that we ask how much our time is worth, and can develop the habit of seeing the effort to increase our wealth as a proxy for wellbeing and therefore as an overriding priority.

DIVIDER-Lifestyle

ACTION

Lifestyle is often presented as a question of how you spend your money. From a relational standpoint, it’s about how you spend your time.

Relational decision-making

Determining your lifestyle comes down to making choices. On the surface these choices seem to involve things like fashion and consumer goods. In fact, though, the most important choices we make are those affecting touch, time, power, depth and purpose in our relationships. Every decision we make will have relational consequences. Big decisions about how many hours you commute and where you live will impact on home and family life. But so will smaller decisions. For example, does using a microwave stagger individual mealtimes, or create more leisure for eating and talking?  In what ways do mobile phones help you maintain relationships, and in what ways do they interfere with important face-time?

Manage opportunity cost

A good place to start with relational lifestyle is doing a schedule diagnosis. Look back at the last few months. If you made a league table of your activities, which – apart from sleep – would occupy the first three places? Who are you talking to? Is it touch time, or are you doing most of it on social media?  For any given activity, ask yourself “What is the relational opportunity cost of my time today?” In other words, what relational opportunities are you going to miss by doing something else?

Pay into a Relational Pension

The relationships that have most enduring significance to you and to those close to you are likely to lie outside the workplace. We all know about pension planning – but how many of us plan relational pensions, consciously investing in the key relationships with family and friends that will support us, and allow us to support others, once we’re finished with work?

 

 

ECONOMICS

What does sovereign debt actually consist of?

S. M. Ali Abbas, Laura Blattner, Mark De Broeck, Asmaa El-Ganainy, Malin Hu There has been renewed interest in sovereign debt since the Global Crisis, but relatively little attention has been paid to its composition. Sovereign debt can differ in

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LIFESTYLE

Connected but disconnected

Millennials are the most connected generation to have ever lived but a significant proportion of them are plagued by loneliness, an expert has warned. The charity Relate said that under-25s are “increasingly likely” to experience loneliness. But they are by

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IDEAS

The culture of contempt

Robert Hall, May 31, 2018  Somehow the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan at St. George’s Chapel – testimony to the power of love and inclusion – seemed positively surreal. The latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas – testimony to

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LIFESTYLE

Being Christian in Western Europe

 A newly-published survey by Pew Forum indicates that the majority of Europe’s Christians are non-practicing, but they differ from religiously unaffiliated people in their views on God, attitudes toward Muslims and immigrants, and opinions about religion’s role in society Western

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EUROPE

The rocky road of EU reform

Open Europe has published a new briefing, ‘The rocky road ahead for the Franco-German reform drive.’ The briefing argues that it is increasingly unlikely that Franco-German cooperation on EU reform will live up to the high expectations that have developed since Macron’s

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