Tuesday, May 29, 2012

how will you measure your life?

I just read the book How Will You Measure Your Life? In it, Clayton Christensen takes his 2010 address to the Harvard Business School graduates and puts it in book form.  Mr. Christensen says in the introduction, 

"I don't promise this book will offer you any easy answers: working through these questions requires hard work. It has taken me decades. But it has also been one of the most worthwhile endeavors of my life. I hope the theories in this book can help you as you continue on your journey, so that in the end, you can definitively answer for yourself the question "How will you measure your life?"

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in an address to the 2010 HBS graduating class. In a nut shell...
On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical business lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions: First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.
One of the theories that gives great insight on the first question—how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. 
A theory that is helpful in answering the second question—How can I ensure that my relationship with my family proves to be an enduring source of happiness?—concerns how strategy is defined and implemented. ...Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy. 
 'Marginal Cost' theory addresses the third question I discuss with my students—how to live a life of integrity (stay out of jail). Unconsciously, we often employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives when we choose between right and wrong. A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK.” The marginal cost of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems alluringly low. It suckers you in, and you don’t ever look at where that path ultimately is headed and at the full costs that the choice entails. Justification for infidelity and dishonesty in all their manifestations lies in the marginal cost economics of “just this once.”

It's a useful book for students and teachers and parents and people with jobs :)

It's a question we should all ask of ourselves,
How will you measure your life?

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