How Will You Measure Your Life? is a book of lucid observations and penetrating insights designed to help any reader—student or teacher, mid-career professional or retiree, parent or child—forge their own paths to fulfillment.
There are no easy answers to life’s challenges. The quest to find happiness and meaning in life is not new. Humans have been pondering the reason for our existence for thousands of years. Using a robust theory to predict what will happen has a much greater chance of success.
The theories in How Will You Measure Your Life? are based on a deep understanding of human endeavor–what causes what to happen, and why. They’ve been rigorously examined and used in organizations all over the globe, and can help all of us with decisions that we make every day in our lives, too.
Finding happiness in your career
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
All of these factors–priorities, balancing plans with opportunities, and allocating your resources–combine to create your strategy. If you can understand and manage this strategy process, you’ll have the best shot at getting it right–of having a career that you will truly love.
The Theory of Motivation
F0r many of us, one of the easiest mistakes to make is to focus on trying to over-satisfy the tangible trappings of professional success in the mistaken belief that those things will make us happy. Better salaries. A more prestigious title. A nicer office. They are, after all, what our friends and family see as signs that we have ‘made it’ professionally. But as soon as you find yourself focusing on the tangible aspects of your job, you are at risk of becoming like some of my classmates, chasing a mirage. The next pay raise, you think, will be the one that finally makes you happy. It’s a hopeless quest.
The theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions than most of us are used to asking.
Finding happiness in your relationships
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 onto 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. This means, almost paradoxically, that the time when it is most important to invest in building strong families and close friendships is when it appears, at the surface, as if it’s not necessary.
A Theory of Good and Bad Capital
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. But these are two forces that will be constantly working against this happening.
First, you’ll be routinely tempted to invest your resources elsewhere–in things that will provide you with a more immediate payoff.
And second, your family and friends rarely shout the loudest to demand your attention. They love you and they want to support your career, too. That can add up to neglecting the people you care about most in the world.
The theory of good money, bad money explains that the clock of building a fulfilling relationship is ticking from the start. If you don’t nurture and develop those relationships, they won’t be there to support you if you find yourself traversing some of the most challenging stretches of life, or as one of the most important sources of happiness in your life.