I’m still digesting How Will You Measure Your Life for the second time, between my other readings, so as to better understand how to implement some of the author’s theories into my life regarding the management of relationships and my personal goals.
Clayton Christensen has done an exceptional job of articulating how to balance the many challenges in our lives and the necessity of taking the time to invest in those areas that are–or should be–most important to us.
Quotes cited from “How Will You Measure Your Life” follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
1. A good theory doesn’t change its mind: it doesn’t apply only to some companies or people, and not to others. It is a general statement of what causes what, and why. (1.10)
Comment: A good theory is a timeless value… you can’t just apply it when it suits you, or it is convenient if you want consistency in the outcome of events.
2. People often think that the best way to predict the future is by collecting as much data as possible before making a decision. But this is like driving a car looking only at the rear view mirror–because data is only available about the past. (1.15)
Comment: I have learned this jewel of wisdom trading the markets over the last twenty years. The past may strengthen the probability of a trade, but it doesn’t guarantee it will go in your direction.
3. In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder. (2.43)
Comment: Why is this insight so difficult for organizations to understand and implement? I know so many people who left the company they worked for these very reasons.
4. Strategy almost always emerges from a combination of deliberate and unanticipated opportunities. What’s important is to get out there and try stuff until you learn where your talents, interests, and priorities begin to pay off. When you find out what really works for you, then it’s time to flip from an emergent strategy to a deliberate one. (3.22)
Comment: Hopefully this doesn’t take a lifetime. Too many in life have “settled” and have never found what it is that excites and motivates them in their work… sadly, I have been there many times.
5. What are the most important assumptions that have to prove right for these projections to work–and how will we track them? (3.44)
Comment: Being able to measure outcomes quantitatively is mandatory to testing assumptions and measuring goals. If you can’t measure an assumption or goal, how will you know if your theory or goal has been verified or achieved?
Allocation of Resources
6. The danger of high-achieving people is that they’ll unconsciously allocate their resources to activities that yield the most immediate, tangible accomplishments. (4.35)
Comment: Looking at the scope of my life, in reflection, the most meaningful rewards have seldom been immediate and were not tangible. What I consider the “worthwhile” things in life were a long-time coming.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
7. … if the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person. (4.43)
Comment: This follows logically. You become that which you invest your thoughts, time and efforts.
8. I genuinely believe that relationships with family and close friends are one of the greatest sources of happiness in life. It sounds simple, but like any important investment, these relationships need consistent attention and care. (5.44)
Comment: I have come to this cognizance also. In addition to this, I know that even with constant attention and care, relationships don’t always work out the way we plan or would like them to work out. People often come into and out of our lives at the most opportune and inopportune times. The trick I am finding to deal with this circumstance is to detach emotionally from those individuals. By doing this, you can love and serve them even more.
9. … the reverse is equally true: the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to. (6.55)
Comment: Again, you learn to love “that” which you serve.
10. I realized that God, in contrast to us, does not need the tools of statisticians or accountants… in order to comprehend completely what is going on among humankind. His only measure of achievement is the individual. (Epilogue.42)
Comment: Great statement!
Images – Post image: “Thinker” by paukrus is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Web 20 April 2014.
Quotes – Christensen, C., Allworth, J., Dillon, K. (2012). How Will You Measure Your Life. New York, New York: HarperCollins.