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How Will You Measure Your Life. Clayton M. Christensen

Because we have to aggregate we get a sense of hierarchy and we tend to measure people by their place in the hierarchy at work or how much money they earn.


God on the other hand doesn’t have to aggregate. He has an infinite mind.


When I have my interview with God at the end of my life, I don’t believe he is going to ask me:

How high I went on my org chart at work How much money did you leave in your bank account


But rather I believe God is going to say; Clay I put you in that circumstance can we talk about the individual lives of people that you helped become better people because you worked with them or because they were members of your family.

















Or here is when I put you in this situation and let’s talk about the individual people whose lives you blessed because you used the talents and abilities I gave you to help them succeed.


God doesn’t count, he doesn’t aggregate, and he will measure our lives by how well we used our talents and abilities to help other people become better people.


I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.


I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about they individuals you have helped become better people.


This is my final recommendation: think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.


Maximize profitability: generally just a short time horizon/perspective is considered


Successful people fail because of the pursuit of achievement. When we have an extra ounce of time we instinctively and unconsciously allocate it to activities that give you the most evidence of achievement. Our careers provide that instant evidence of achievement; we close a sale, we ship a product, complete a presentation, get promoted, get paid, etc.


In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer that same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating.


People who are driven have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.


If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.


If a company’s resource allocation process is not managed masterfully, what emerges from it can be very different from what management intended.


Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy.


God doesn’t employ accountants or statisticians. He doesn’t need to aggregate things.


Because we have finite minds we have to aggregate things. For example; in our companies we can’t keep track of every single invoice so we must aggregate all of those up to total receivables, payables and revenues.


Because we have limited minds we have to aggregate our entire year to a bottom line number and if it is better than last year we say we are doing good.




Author: Clayton Christensen Professor of MBA program at Harvard, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Rhodes Scholar 12-2-12


Harvard Business professor teaches aspiring MBA’s how to apply management and innovation theories to build stronger companies. But he also believes that these models can help people lead better lives. He explores the following key questions:

How can I be happy in my career?

How can I be sure that my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness?

How can I live my life with integrity?


Over the years I’ve watched the fates of my Harvard classmates from 1979 unfold; I’ve seen more and more of them come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children. I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them. And yet a shocking number of them implemented that strategy. The reason? They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents and energy.


The reason why successful people fail is the same reason why successful companies fail.


Successful companies fail because they invest time, talent and resources in that which is the most immediate and tangible evidence of achievement. 

Successful people fail because...


of the pursuit of achievement. When we have an extra ounce of time we instinctively and unconsciously allocate it to activities that give you the most evidence of achievement.

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