How Will You Measure Your Life Summary

Categories Purpose Driven lifePosted on

How Will You Measure Your Life shows you how to sustain motivation at work and in life to spend your time on earth happily and fulfilled, by focusing not just on money and your career, but your family, relationships and personal well-being.

Clayton M. Christensen is the world’s leading authority on innovation, most notably due to his all-time classic “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” just about the only business book Steve Jobs ever thought was valuable to him.

This book is more geared towards helping you balance professional life with, well, the rest of it. It points out that counterintuitively, taking time away from work for family, relationships, etc. can have a huge positive impact on your career and happiness – in the long run.

Because these benefits take a long time to shine through, it’s hard to invest the time right now and trust the process, and this is where the book can help.

Here are my 3 favorite lessons:

  • Your relationships need your attention. Always. Even when you don’t think they do.
  • Ask yourself what your job in relationships is, to better understand others and intuitively do the right thing.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of marginal thinking.

Ready to find a new measure for your life? Here we go!

Lesson 1: Relationships constantly require your attention – even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Do you sometimes avoid going to family birthdays? Have you ever felt happy some important work thing happened right at the same time, and gave you a good excuse not to go?

Deep in our hearts, you and I know that the relationships with the people closest to us – our best friends and family – are the biggest source of our happiness. So why don’t we always dedicate the time they need to them?

There are two reasons for this:

Working more presents an immediate reward. It’s really easy to see the benefit of an extra hour at work – you’ll do something that’ll advance your career and make you more money.

Those who you have your best relationships with never ask for your time. That’s why they’re the best! They just support you, no matter what you do. So they don’t ask for much.

In a sense, great relationships are a paradox: they need consistent dedication and lots of effort, even when it seems like they don’t.

It might seem like you can compensate less family time now for more later, but the truth is damage done early can hardly be repaired in later years.

Lesson 2: Build intuition and empathy by thinking of your family life as a job.

So what’s one thing you can do to instantly improve your relationships and give them the attention they deserve? How about treating them like a job?

Wait, what?! Yup, that’s right! Ironically, thinking of your relationships like you do about the thing you’re supposed to give up a bit of – work – will actually make you better at them.

Here’s the single-best question you can ask to improve any relationship: “What job does X need me to do the most?”

X is the person in question. Could be your best friend, your dad, your family as a whole, or your partner. This flips the relationship on its head, approaching it from their perspective, instead of yours, and forces you to dig deep. It helps understand the other party better and then come up with good ways to fulfill their needs.

The more often you do this, the better you’ll become at intuitively guessing what your spouse or son needs, which is a great recipe for a flourishing and loyal relationship.

Lesson 3: Avoid the trap of marginal thinking.

One relationship we mustn’t neglect in all this is the one you have with yourself. A really easy way to protect it at all times is to live with integrity. If your conscience is clear, you’ll feel good about decisions you make and actions you take, and that’s what makes those work out.

For most people, integrity is the default setting. Where we wander off the path of doing what’s right is where it gets icky. How can you avoid compromising your integrity?

Simple: recognize marginal thinking and don’t engage in it. What’s marginal thinking? It’s when all you think about are the “edges” of the situation.

For example, Blockbuster was the incumbent in the movie rental market for a long time. One day, a little company called Netflix started sending out DVDs via mail and had customers return them that way. Weirdos! Because they didn’t want to pay the marginal costs of adding this service to their own portfolio of products, Blockbuster ended up paying the ultimate price instead: they went bankrupt in 2010.

The same thing happens with morals. For example, many bankers in 2007 and 2008 thought it wouldn’t hurt if they covered their mortgage loans’s bad credibility “just this once,” which of course completely spiraled and ended with the world financial crisis. Because they didn’t want to pay the marginal price of sucking up to a bad decision immediately, they completely lost their integrity in the long run.

Simply recognizing when you’re thinking marginally can make a huge difference and will help you avoid making decisions just to avoid consequences of others you’ve made previously.

My personal take-aways

I like it. The book’s statement is not one you hear often these days. Less work, more family! I think I needed to hear that myself. Already reached out to some friends and will delete some contacts from my phone who aren’t valuable relationships and only take away from the important ones. A recommended read!

Finding Your Element Summary

Categories Purpose Driven lifePosted on

Finding Your Element shows you how to find your talents and passions, embrace them, and come up with your own definition of happiness, so you can combine what you love with what you’re good at to live a long, happy life.

Sir Ken Robinson, the author of this book, likes to talk about three things: creativity, uncertainty and the immense capabilities of children. Taken together, they make up much of what he stands for – that we’re living through a revolution in education, and that it’s time to change it.

He’s the presenter of the most famous TED talk of all time and one of few strong critics of our school system, saying in its current form, it’s meant to make us obedient, not educated. In this book, which acts as a sort of follow-up workbook to go with his bestseller The Element, Ken shows us what to do right now, since we can’t change our education system from one day to the next.

It lines out how you can find out what you’re good at and what you like, and how to combine these two things into something that makes you happy, regardless of what society tells you or what you’ve been trained to do in school and college.

These are my favorite 3 things to take away:

  • Take a second to appreciate your own, absolutely unique life.
  • Everything is unknown, so it makes no sense to be afraid of it.
  • Find your hidden talents by looking at what your teachers told you you were bad at.

Let’s take a few minutes to forget the rest of the world and just think about ourselves and what we really want, okay?

Lesson 1: Stop for a second to appreciate your own, unique experience called life.

Has someone ever told you “you really are one-of-a-kind?” To express they think you’re special? It’s a really nice thing to happen, isn’t it? But have you ever stopped to consider how profoundly right they were, when they paid you that compliment? Because they literally were.

I’d like you to stop for a second and really think about this. No human person in the history of the world has had the same biology and psychology as you do.

Throughout human evolution, genes have been combined, changed, tweaked and permuted countless billions, trillions of times even. Yet you are the first and only instance of your exact combination of genes. No one will ever have the same genetic code, ever again (even if you have an identical twin). Of course this includes your brain, which is responsible for the second, absolutely unique thing about you: your experience.

You were born at a certain place (which will never be the same it was that day) at a certain time (which will never come again) into a certain set of circumstances (which will never be the same again). Nobody can ever have the same experiences with the same people in the same moment as you. No do-overs.

Your life can and never will be recreated as you’ve lived it – so far and until you die. One time. Take a second to appreciate this. It really is one-of-a-kind. Just like you.

Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid of the unknown, because everything is.

Logically following this uniqueness, you’d have to think that no human life plays out in the same way, which should hold true for our work too, right? How come then that millions of people end up doing the same thing and making the same career choices?

This is where one of the most basic, yet strongest human fears kicks in: the fear of the unknown. Our brains scream for certainty and reassurance, and society is happy to offer both of those to us.

“Follow the plan,” it whispers “you know, the well-established path, the one where you know how it plays out.” Usually that’s finishing high school at 17 or 18, entering college, graduating, getting a professional job as a lawyer, doctor, teacher or manager, then settling down, getting married and starting a family.

But since we’re living through the biggest shift in education and work since the Industrial Revolution, the pressure to follow this plan makes us even more uncomfortable. How can we expect humans who’ve just become adults to commit to a plan for the rest of their life in such an uncertain world? It’s insane.

If you think about it, you never have even the faintest idea of what’s going to happen the next time you set foot outside your house – yet you somehow try to plan the next 40, 50, 60 years of your life.

Ken suggests that, instead of fretting about the unknown, we should learn to see the potential upside in it. An infinite number of good things can happen, which might reveal opportunities you never could’ve dreamed of. Ken didn’t start writing and speaking until he was well into his 40s.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Everything is. And that’s a good thing.

Lesson 3: Think about what school told you you were bad at again – are you really?

Did you ever get the feedback from your school teachers that you were bad at something? That you should stop trying? Or that something you were good at wasn’t that valuable?

Institutional education is discouraging us in a lot more ways than it encourages us, because in school, only one kind of intelligence is valued: logical reasoning (IQ). Math and science are at the top of the subject food chain, followed by languages and humanities (like geography, history, politics, etc.), with the arts, like dance, music, poetry, at the very bottom.

But not only does school not drive us towards creative pursuits, it actually drives us away from them, because in the school system, mistakes are punished – whereas in reality, the only way to do something creative is to do something that might be a mistake.

Think back to school. First grade, third grade, fifth grade. What did teachers make you believe you’re bad at? Do you still believe that today? Why? Was it something you liked? Ask more of these questions, and you just might find one of your hidden talents or passions.

My personal take-aways

If you ask me, you can’t do enough critical thinking and questioning about the educational system these days. It’s falling apart at the seams, with degrees becoming less and less valuable and thousands of new options of making a living emerging by the day. A highly important book about a highly important topic.

Find Your Why Summary

Categories Purpose Driven lifePosted on

Find Your Why is an actionable guide to discover your mission in life, figure out how you can live it on a daily basis and share it with the world.

In 2017, Simon Sinek did it again. After giving one of the world’s most popular TED talks in 2009, he once more held a speech that rocked the world. Talking to Tom Bilyeu, he broke down ‘the millennial question’ and addressed four reasons why young generations struggle so much with building a satisfying life. The result? 35 million views and, probably, a new book for him to write.

The book we’re looking at today, Find Your Why, acts more as a practical follow-up, a workbook, if you will, to his previous bestseller, Start With Why. It adds more context and actionable exercises to help individuals and businesses find their WHY and ensure they implement it at work.

Here are my 3 main takeaways:

You can find your WHY by going through events from your past that had a big impact on you.

Knowing HOW you work will allow you to live your WHY as best as possible.

After you’ve figured out your purpose in life, share it whenever you get a chance.

Are you ready for some much needed, but practical soul-searching? Let’s do this!

Lesson 1: Recount stories from your past to find your WHY.

Once, Simon sat next to a man on a plane, who had been living his WHY for over 20 years. Guess what that man’s company did? They produced steel. Super boring, right? How could someone be passionate about cold metal?

Well, as it turned out, the man’s business was focused on low carbon emissions and making products that were easy to recycle. His WHY was to keep the environment clean for future generations. That’s pretty powerful and it doesn’t matter whether you apply it to steel tubing, cool apps or knitting socks – if your business becomes large enough, the impact will be big!

After Simon first found his own WHY – to help others wake up inspired to go to work in the morning – he sat down with others to walk them through the process. The most important part of that process was always for the person to recount old stories. Most of us can point back to childhood and find lots of buried passions, but even recent stories matter a lot, as long as they had a big impact on us.

If you want to do this for yourself, go through 10-12 stories with a friend or someone who asks you lots of questions along the way, and you should get a lot closer to your purpose.

Lesson 2: Use your HOWs to be efficient in implementing your WHY.

We all have a WHY, and while finding it isn’t always easy, it’s only the first step. After all, you want to live your WHY, not just know it. This is where your HOWs come into play. They are the attitudes and behaviors that enable you to do your best work.

Your HOWs include both very specific habits and more general points of view. Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser belongs into the first category, for example, while being good at marketing goes into the second. Knowing the former helps you move towards a job or style of work that supports those habits. The latter helps you make important decisions.

For example, if it’s easy for you to market things, get traction on new projects, and capture some early sales, what you should work on next needn’t always be what’s most profitable. Instead, you can focus more on ethics and selling what you really want, because you can generate word of mouth quickly with a lot of different products.

But how do you identify your HOWs? Just like past stories help you identify your purpose, past behavior can give you a good idea of how you should best go about living it. Take some time to think about how you work, write down the daily routines that allowed you to perform best in the past and which high-level skills you’ve accumulated so far.

With your HOWs in hand, living your WHY becomes a lot easier.

Lesson 3: Once you have your WHY, practice sharing it as much as possible.

If you know your WHY and do a good job at keeping it front and center in your life, you’re already ahead of most people in life on your journey towards happiness. That’s why part of your responsibility once you have it is to share your WHY as much as you can.

There are several good reasons to do so:

It will inspire others to start searching for their own WHY.

It might turn a lame conversation into a fascinating experience.

It’s the perfect answer to “What do you do?”

It’ll help you refine your mission statement constantly.

What’s more, if your WHY is a bold claim or something that makes people roll their eyes, like “I want to help humans fly like birds,” this is a chance to double down on your commitment and back up your words with actions. Lastly, it’ll help you work better with others and pinpoint when something doesn’t feel right.

So, craft a short, one-sentence WHY and write it down somewhere!

My personal take-aways

If you liked Simon’s last book, this is a good addendum. It’s practical, so if you liked the message, but felt stuck in applying it to your own life, this may be the solution. Besides outlining the process for individuals, the book also includes ideas for team workshops and businesses, which rounds it all out nicely.

Buy this book

Born For This Summary

Categories Purpose Driven lifePosted on

Born For This shows you how to find the work you were meant to do, which actually might consist of many different forms of work over the course of your life, by showing you the power of a side hustle, proper risk-assessment, creating your own job and pursuing all of your passions – one at a time.

Chris Guillebeau’s life must feel like one big birthday party for a 12-year old. There’s a bouncy castle, a huge buffet, lots of cake, a waterslide, a magic show and of course a ton of party games to choose from. You might switch from one station to the next, but it’d never get boring.

All of Chris’s books and projects seem to me like they’re one of these birthday games – Chris just has a ton of fun, which he spills all over these things so it ends up right with you and me, the reader.

This time, he shows us how he managed to turn this big birthday party of his into something that pays the bills. If The Happiness of Pursuit shows you how to spend your life, Born For This shows you how to pay for it.

Here are 3 lessons to help you find the work you’re meant to do:

  • Come up with if-then sketches to deal with risks and feel more confident.
  • Kick start your side hustle with a 100 People Project.
  • Your life isn’t a math problem – be okay with switching passions.

Don’t know what you were born for yet? No sweat, we’ll find out together!

Lesson 1: Create a set of if-then sketches as fallback plans so you’ll sweat risks less and feel more confident.

A popular technique in books that encourage you to start your own business is visualizing your worst-case scenario. Imagining your world when everything that could possibly go wrong would often makes you realize that it wouldn’t be so bad and that you’d likely be able to recover. This feels reassuring and makes it easier to take the next step.

In Born For This, Chris takes it a step further by suggesting that you make so-called if-then sketches. These are specific backup plans for what exact action you’ll take if you run into a problem.

For example, your first step might be to send a pitch for your social media managing service to 50 prospects. You could then make a sketch that says “if I don’t hear back from someone within five days, I’ll send them a follow-up containing a coupon.” What’s more, you can keep playing this game for a while, for example with a second and third follow-up.

This will make you feel very safe and confident about moving ahead, and even if things don’t work out right away you always know exactly what to do next.

Lesson 2: Get your side hustle off the ground fast with a 100 People Project.

Some of the tips Chris gives in this book about finding the right work for yourself include making a list of all the skills you’re good at (and not just the ones you learned about in college), the things you hate doing and paying attention to what other people ask you for help with.

It’ll take some time to figure out what kind of business you want to start, but once you do, this is how you can get it off the ground fast. Chris calls this your 100 People Project.

Let’s say you’ve decided to offer customized meal plans to help people gain muscle because your friends keep asking you for fitness advice.

Now you can assemble a list of 100 people from your contacts, social media networks and other sources where potential customers hang around. If all you do is send a short message to everyone on the list, offering a free, 15-minute Skype consultation, this will greatly improve your marketing skills, show you how you can be most helpful, start building your customer base and maybe even get you your first paying clients!

Pretty neat, huh?

Lesson 3: Learn to be okay with the seasons of life, your life isn’t a straight line, after all.

Do you know what’s depressing? Having to pick just one option out of a myriad of choices. Do you know what’s even worse? Having to live with that choice for the rest of your life.

That’s why you’d never do it when buying pants, a car, renting a house or even deciding on a partner – I’m guessing you don’t just straight propose to someone you barely know (unless your name is Ted Mosby, maybe).

But when it comes to picking a career, we’re still attached to the idea that we have to settle for one thing. But if Gene Wolfe had done that, he’d probably still be working on new kinds of chips to create, long after it’s been clear that the world will remember him for his greatest gift: Pringles.

Luckily, Gene didn’t fall for it. He didn’t want to be “the Pringles guy.” He refused. He liked writing. So, for the past 60 years, he’s written a page a day. He’s published over 50 novels with plenty of different themes, many of which have won awards and become bestsellers.

As Chris says, you never signed a contract agreeing to only do one thing for the rest of your life – so don’t act as if you did.

Life is seasonal and it’s perfectly okay for your career to reflect that. You might grow potatoes in the summer (maybe to make Pringles) and record Jazz music in the winter. There’s enough time to devote yourself to all of your passions throughout your life – just not to all of them at once.

My personal take-aways

I’m such a fanboy, but I don’t even care. Chris is great. Don’t think, just read. Oh and take the quiz that comes with this book.

Buy this book

error: Right click disabled