Review and Summary: How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life book title

Author: Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

Publication date: 15 May 2012

Publisher: Harper Business

Number of pages: 240 pages

Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon share ways to measure and ensure on how to live a balance and successful professional and personal life that is valued by happiness and integrity rather than materials-oriented. Clayton Christensen uses a unique writing style by business management analogy and approach to define the guidelines.

This book is recommended for anyone who is juggling work-home life and looking for the meaning of professional values to lead a fulfilling life.

I would like to highlight some important take-home notes and related quotes from this book:

#1 Stop underestimating personal life and overestimating professional life

One of the most common versions of this mistake that high-potential young professionals make is believing that investments in life can be sequences. The logic is, for example, “I can invest in my career during the early years when our children are small and parenting isn’t as critical. When our children are a bit older and begin to be interested in things that adults are interested in, then I can lift my foot off my career accelerator. That’s when I’ll focus in my family.” By that time, the game is already over.

The relationships you have with family and close friends are going to be the most important sources of happiness in your life. But you have to be careful. When it seems like everything at home is going well, you will be lulled into believing that you can put your investments in these relationships on the back burner. That would be an enormous mistake. By the time serious problems arise in those relationships, it often is too late to repair them.

#2 In terms of job satisfaction, motivation beats money

It is important to address hygiene factors such as a safe and comfortable working environment, relationship with managers and colleagues, enough money to look after your family—if you don’t have these things, you’ll experience dissatisfaction with your work. But these alone won’t do anything to make you love your job—they will just stop you from hating it.

We should always remember that beyond a certain point, money, status, compensation, and job security are much more a by-product of being happy with a job rather than the cause of it. Realising this frees us to focus on the things that really matter.

You must be careful not to confuse correlation with causality in assessing the happiness we can find in different jobs.

#3 Create a reactive-flexible life strategy and allocate your resources wisely

On the one hand, if you have a strategy that really is working, you need to deliberately focus to keep everyone working together in the right direction. At the same time, however, that focus can easily cause you to dismiss as a distraction what could actually turn out to be the next big thing.

You can talk all you want about having a clear purpose and strategy for your life, but ultimately this means nothing if you are not investing the resources you have in a way that is consistent with your strategy. In the end, a strategy is nothing but good intentions unless it’s effectively implemented.

In your life, there are going to be constant demands for your time and attention. How are you going to decide which of those demands gets resources? The trap many people fall into is to allocate their time to whoever screams loudest, and their talent to whatever offers them the fastest reward. That’s a dangerous way to build a strategy.

As you go through your career, you will begin to find the areas of work you love and in which you will shine; you will, hopefully, find a field where you can maximise the motivators and satisfy the hygiene factors. But it’s rarely a case of sitting in an ivory tower and thinking through the problem until the answer pops into your head. 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


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