The Framework to Finding the Ideal Life Partner.

Choosing the Ideal Life Partner

In my previous post, love is the worst investment–but only if you’re with the wrong partner.

When you marry someone, you are deciding on a business partner, sexual partner, parenting partner, and life partner in one. Together, both of you will be partners in managing your careers, home life, and social life. Because of the great power your partner yields over your life, you need to choose very well.

But just like all bits of advice, this is easier said than done. Everyone has a different set of values, life mission, and vision. Different people have different sets of needs. The ideal life partner is different for everyone.

As an MBA grad, I am naturally inclined to loving frameworks. Frameworks help explaining abstract concepts a lot easier–such as this complicated thing called love. You can even use a framework to finding your ideal life partner!

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioli

I came across this talk by Patrick Lencioli, author of the book ‘The Ideal Team Player’. The book is essentially a career development book, wherein he summarized the three key virtues of an ideal team player in the work setting: hunger, humility, and smarts.

However, his framework could work outside the office setting– and in choosing life partners prudently, as well. To illustrate:

  • HUNGRY. Isn’t hunger sexy? Who would want a partner who’s a slacker, who has no hunger for growth and learning? That would be a very boring lifetime with another partner if you ask me.
  • HUMBLE. Ahh, humility. Probably the most important among the three values. Isn’t humility hard to come by these days? People love tooting their own horn nowadays, especially with social media giving everyone their 15-minute fame. Humility is a rare commodity, everyone is selfish nowadays. Find someone who goes beyond their own egos, but instead focuses on the welfare of the family or partnership as a whole.
  • SMART. Not just IQ, but EQ- and SQ-smart. Being smart isn’t the same as merely being academically intelligent. I’m talking about people smart — common sense, emotional intelligence, social skills, tactfulness, and good communication.

It’s important to have all three virtues. Having only one or two is dangerous, and potentially toxic, as I will explain below:

100% Humble. 0% Smart and 0% Hungry: Pawn

You are dating a minion with no self will or opinion. They are kind and unassuming, the most pleasant people. They value peace and order. You will never get into fights in them, but they also have zero ambition and others are likely to step all over them. Expect that you will make all the decisions yourself. They are not going to succeed much in life unless they’re Nelson Bigetti.

100% Hungry. 0% Humble and 0% Smart: Bulldozer

A Bulldozer. In this scenario, you’re dating a sociopath.

Yes, they will get things done. But all their motivations are rooted in their self-interests. Loves to take credit and seeks attention. If they see you upset, they’re not going to ask ‘what’s wrong’, but they’re going to neg ‘why are you always like this’. Me, me, me.

100% Smart. 0% Humble and 0% Hungry: Charmer

Charmers are fun to be with. They’re likable. Because of their social charm, they could be better partners than pawns or bulldozers. However, the charm wears off and it wouldn’t be cute in the long run (especially if you can’t afford to be a sugar daddy). They have no interest in working nor do they have any interest in living within their means. They are schmoozers so they could make great trophy wives or husbands.

50% Humble, 50% Hungry 0% Smart: The Accidental Mess Maker

These people are genuine hard workers and interested in working together without a disproportionate amount of attention. However, they still lack some gears to make a relationship work well. They could be tactless and hurt your feelings without realizing it. They could make very dumb decisions based on good intentions.

Great patience is required to make a relationship with the mess maker work. For most of the time, you might have to end up cleaning up after their emotional and inter-personal messes. You may also need to teach them further on how to be better at interpersonal relationships.

50% Smart, 50% Humble 0% Hungry: The Lovable Slackers

These guys are lovable and make a great company. They will get along well with your friends and family. They aren’t attention seekers, but the problem is, they have limited passion. You know they could do better–like have a better job or position–but they just aren’t that motivated. Their contentment is enviable, but they would never be able to reach to their fullest potential.

50% Hungry, 50% Smart 0% Humble: The Skillful Politician

This guy is charismatic and savvy, like a politician. You will love him. Everyone will love him. Their presence is magnetic. They’re ambitious and hardworking… but only if it benefits him personally. It’s harder to detect this type because they are adept manipulators. They know what they want and how to get it. They know the right buttons to push, the right words to say. Sometimes it’s too late for you to find out that you’ve been had.


Humble, Hungry, Smart: The Ideal Life Partner

The ideal life partner possesses adequate measures of humble, hungry and smarts. They are team players. They have little ego, which is crucial in hearing out issues in a relationship. They have the passion and energy to assume responsibility in working towards your shared dreams. They have the right interpersonal skills to know the right action steps to take when an issue or difficulty arises.


My friend Jehan once said, ‘how can you get your dream guy if you’re not working to be his dream girl?’ What she said made absolute sense. It’s unfair to expect to get your ideal partner without working hard to becoming the best version of yourself.

The goal is not only to find the ideal life partner–but also to be the ideal life partner. Assess what you have and what you lack–and develop the areas of improvement.

None of us are perfect. We all have our baggage. But people are not snapshots, we are movies. If we work towards improvement, we will become better versions of ourselves. For us, and for our loved ones.



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