How will you measure your life?

Saturday, March 12, 2022

I just finished another book from Clayton Christensen called How will you measure your life?. I love The Innovator's Dilemma and I think I like most of this book, about 80%, probably because I am also a researcher. I like the way how a theory can be considered as a lens to look at other things, especially from a different point of view. And this book presented good theories to address the question of how one may measure their life. And instead of saying what one should do, those theories give guidance on how one should think about this question. Reading this book gave me a clear answer for many inspirational speeches as well as complaints I saw recently.

There are three sections addressing three aspects: happiness in career, happiness in relationships, and integrity and staying out of jail. There are parts I really like, others probably 50-50. The ranking is probably related to how personal the question in that section is. Whatever part I was reading, it was also good to always ask to what extend I agree or disagree with this part, and move on.

About happiness in career, what I like most is that although it also starts with finding what motivates you to work, it does not say BS about passion and stuff. Instead, it brought up that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are separate, independent measures. The opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction, but rather an absence of job dissatisfaction. You can be dissatisfied with a job with low salary but giving you high salary with that job does not mean you will be satisfied, and vice versa. It then presented Motivation theory which, roughly speaking, says there are hygiene factors and motivation factors. Hygiene factors are what need to be addressed so that you are not dissatisfied. Examples are status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, or supervisory practices. Motivation factors are what truly, deeply satisfy us, what cause us to love our jobs. Examples are challenging work, recognition, responsibility, or personal growth. Of course, each person has their own list of factors. So where do we find it? Well, keep balancing those factors and keep trying if you have not found it yet.

The section about happiness in relationships is really a personal one, so naturally many parts did not resonate well with me. But I really like the Resource-Process-Priority framework applied there. These are things, according to this framework, considered to fully describe a business and constitute a company's culture. These things are also matched well when applied to a family and personal relationships. What are priorities I want my family (including future kids) to strive for? Be rich? Be kind? Be bold? Be generous? Be responsible? Be thoughtful? Love working? What and how much resources (e.g., time, money, health) do I have and how do I allocate those to align with whatever priorities I choose? When should I start investing those resources? Well, there are just a lot in this section.

About integrity and staying out of jail, short and simple, most people who ended up in really bad situation (and probably in jail) was because of small mistakes they did added up.

So, a quick summary of a book I like. Highly recommend and hope to have a chance to discuss with you about this book.

© 2022, Kien Nguyen