Steve Pavlina:

The way many people approach lifestyle design is often about breadth rather than depth. Add new experiences. Meet new people. Travel to new places. Rinse and repeat.

There’s nothing wrong with this. Breadth is great. But if that’s all you have, most likely you’ll be craving more depth – in your experiences, in your relationships, and in your work.


Depth takes time and patience. It requires consistency and clear decisions. It aligns with many of the same qualities that work for investing.

If you want more depth, think about where you’re willing to invest. Where are you willing to plant some roots? In which ares of life are you willing to nurture investments over a long period of time?


Addictions and other unwanted behaviors can serve as substitutes for depth. A long-term addiction is still an investment. Some people invest in substances or habits that may have negative side effects, but this may still provide a sense of connecting to something deeper, especially relative to other areas of life where long-term investments aren’t being made to the same extent.


Where are you over-investing? Where are you putting in a lot of time and energy, but you aren’t experiencing much depth, fulfillment, and long-term satisfaction in return? Where do you need to withdraw some time and energy and maintain stronger boundaries?

Where are you under-investing? Which areas of life have you been neglecting, denying yourself the long-term, accumulated benefits?

Take a look at your habits, relationships, tech usage, career path, and more. Is the depth where you want it to be? Is the long-term payoff satisfying?


When I see friends in their 70s and beyond who are happy and fulfilled, I pay attention to what fuels their sense of depth. In each case they’re getting the payoff from some form of investment. For some it’s engaging in creative work and contribution. For others it’s the decades-long friendships they’ve maintained. For still others it’s their investment in family. Many benefit from multiple investments across these areas, but even one close friendship can create that effect.

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