How Will You Measure Your Life?

As I look back on my own life, I recognize that some of the greatest gifts I received from my parents stemmed not from what they did for me—but rather from what they didn’t do for me. One such example: my mother never mended my clothes. I remember going to her when I was in the early grades of elementary school, with holes in both socks of my favorite pair. My mom had just had her sixth child and was deeply involved in our church activities. She was very, very busy. Our family had no extra money anywhere, so buying new socks was just out of the question. So she told me to go string thread through a needle, and to come back when I had done it. That accomplished—it took me about ten minutes, whereas I’m sure she could have done it in ten seconds—she took one of the socks and showed me how to run the needle in and out around the periphery of the hole, rather than back and forth across the hole, and then simply to draw the hole closed. This took her about thirty seconds. Finally, she showed me how to cut and knot the thread. She then handed me the second sock, and went on her way. A year or so later—I probably was in third grade—I fell down on the playground at school and ripped my Levi’s. This was serious, because I had the standard family ration of two pairs of school trousers. So I took them to my mom and asked if she could repair them. She showed me how to set up and operate her sewing machine, including switching it to a zigzag stitch; gave me an idea or two about how she might try to repair it if it were she who was going to do the repair, and then went on her way. I sat there clueless at first, but eventually figured it out. Although in retrospect these were very simple things, they represent a defining point in my life. They helped me to learn that I should solve my own problems whenever possible; they gave me the confidence that I could solve my own problems; and they helped me experience pride in that achievement. It’s funny, but every time I put those socks on until they were threadbare, I looked at that repair in the toe and thought, “I did that.” I have no memory now of what the repair to the knee of those Levi’s looked like, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. When I looked at it, however, it didn’t occur to me that I might not have done a perfect mending job. I only felt pride that I had done it. As for my mom, I have wondered what

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 maximize 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.

Because if the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person.

But if anyone believes that he is working harder but is being paid less than another person, it would be like transplanting cancer into this company.

Culture is a way of working together toward common goals that have been followed so frequently and so successfully that people don’t even think about trying to do things another way. If a culture has formed, people will autonomously do what they need to do to be successful.

Culture is a way of working together toward common goals that have been followed so frequently and so successfully that people don’t even think about trying to do things another way. If a culture has formed, people will autonomously do what they need to do to be successful. Those

Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.   When

Does that mean that we should never hire or promote an inexperienced manager who had not already learned to do what needs to be done in this assignment? The answer: it depends. In a start-up company where there are no processes in place to get things done, then everything that is done must be done by individual people–resources. In this circumstance, it would be risky to draft someone with no experience to do the job–because in the absence of processes that can guide people, experienced people need to lead. But in established companies where much of the guidance to employees is provided by processes, and is less dependent upon managers with detailed, hands-on experience, then it makes sense to hire or promote someone who needs to learn from experience.

If you defer investing your time and energy until you see that you need to, chances are it will already be too late.

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 there 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 more challenging stretches of life, or as one of the most important sources of happiness in your life.

I had thought the destination was what was important, but it turned out it was the journey.

Indeed, while experiences and information can be good teachers, there are many times in life where we simply cannot afford to learn on the job. You don’t want to have to go through multiple marriages to learn how to be a good spouse. Or wait until your last child has grown to master parenthood. This is why theory can be so valuable: it can explain

In fact, how you allocate your own resources can make your life turn out to be exactly as you hope or very different from what you intend.

In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder.

In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder. There’s an old saying: find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

In our lives and in our careers, whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly navigating a path by deciding between our deliberate strategies and the unanticipated alternatives that emerge.

Intimate, loving, and enduring relationships with our family and close friends will be among the sources of the deepest joy in our lives.

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.

It's easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.

I used to think that if you cared for other people, you need to study sociology or something like it. But….I [have] concluded, if you want to help other people, be a manager. If done well, management is among the most noble of professions. You are in a position where you have eight or ten hours every day from every person who works for you. You have the opportunity to frame each person’s work so that, at the end of every day, your employees will go home feeling like Diana felt on her good day: living a life filled with motivators.

Resources are what he uses to do it, processes are how he does it, and priorities are why he does it.

successful companies don’t succeed because they have the right strategy at the beginning; but rather, because they have money left over after the original strategy fails, so that they can pivot and try another approach. Most of those that fail, in contrast, spend all their money on their original strategy—which is usually wrong. The

the only metrics that will truly matter to my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people.

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. —Steve Jobs

the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

The theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions than most of us are used to asking. Is this work meaningful to me? Is this job going to give me a chance to develop? Am I going to learn new things? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to be given responsibility? These are the things that will truly motivate you. Once you get this right, the more measurable aspects of your job will fade in importance.

What are the assumptions that have to prove true in order for me to be able to succeed in this assignment?

When I have my interview with God, our conversation will focus on the individuals whose self-esteem I was able to strengthen, whose faith I was able to reinforce, and whose discomfort I was able to assuage—a doer of good, regardless of what assignment I had. These are the metrics that matter in measuring my life.

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.

you perfect results. What I can promise you is that you won’t get it right if you don’t commit to keep trying.