For many of us something happens in the middle of our lives. Suddenly you notice that the things and values that have always been the most important for you, just aren’t that important anymore!
Some people do this shift of focus because of something radical that happens, like losing the job, having a grandchild or experiencing a friend’s death. Almost overnight you perceive the world with new eyes. But for most people this shift comes slowly, without you really noticing it. There is just this feeling, which is growing stronger and stronger, that you’re not happy with life the way it is anymore. Relationships that are based on old values don’t seem satisfying anymore or you feel that you are working on a career that isn’t that exciting any longer. If you allow yourself to stop and reflect for a moment, you realize that you want something different form life now. You have everything that you need, but you’re not happy.
In his wonderful drama-documentary The Shift, Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about a research on this topic. A group of men and women in the USA have been asked what they find the most important things in life. They are in the “morning” of their lives, about 20 – 50 years old. This is what it looks like:
The top 5 important priorities in men’s life before the shift
1. Wealth. The accumulation of money.
2. A sense of adventure.
3. Achievement. To see that I have accomplished something.
5. To be respected.
The top 5 important priorities in women’s life before the shift
2. A feeling of independence.
4. Fitting in.
5. Attractiveness as a part of my value.
Then comes, what the research institute calls, “The moment that turns your values upside down”. Several years later (in “the afternoon” of their lives) the same men and women are interviewed about what they find important in life and their answers are quite different!
The top 5 important priorities in men’s life AFTER the shift
1. Spirituality. A sense of being connected to something else.
2. Personal peace. Less stress.
4. God’s will. I have a sense of purpose.
5. Honesty. How honest am I with myself?
The top 5 important priorities in women’s life AFTER the shift
1. My own personal growth.
2. A sense of self-esteem.
3. Spirituality. A sense of being connected to something else.
Just look at the difference!
For men the primary focus changes from “wealth” to “spirituality”! “Family”, which comes on third place, wasn’t even on their first list! And the women had nothing in their 5-top list that was actually about their own happiness, but only about what others might think about them. After the shift they are so much more concerned about their own value and growth.
So it’s not that strange if your marriage suddenly starts to shake. What happened? Nothing has changed in terms of job, children or different life style. No but big changes might have started to grow in you or your partner. If you’re not aware of this probability it might cause you to make unnecessary decisions. Start to talk about your new feelings and thoughts instead. You’re most certainly not alone!
Will it look different in other cultures? It probably will, but still I think the before and after lists will differ a lot.
I’d be happy to hear your comment on this! And if you like what you’ve read, please share it!