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How Will You Measure Your Life?

2013 is drawing to a close, and a new year is fast approaching. This is a time that I like to take stock of what has happened over the past year, and to imagine what I would like to accomplish in the new one. Evaluate, contemplate, consider, plan and move forward. Out with the old, in with the new!

One of the books that had a impact on me this year, was Clay Christensen's How will you measure your life?

Christensen is a Harvard Business School professor who's primary claim to fame is the idea of "disruptive innovation," which he articulated in his earlier book The Innovator's Dilemma. The dilemma is that successful companies can fail precisely because of their success. They can be so focused on what they're doing that they miss what's coming.

InHow Will You Measure Your Life Christensen applies what he learned in business to life.

What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? What strategies are you using to get where you want to go?

At his five year business school reunion, he noticed most people seemed to be doing great! They married spouses who were better looking than them; they had great jobs and were making a lot of money.

But as the reunions kept coming, 10 years, 15, 20, 25, things weren't working out for many of them. People were getting divorced; they were estranged from their kids who were being raised on the other side of the country by strangers; some even ended up in jail!

Business metrics are relatively straightforward. You aggregate revenue, subtract out costs and the result is a number called profit. This is the ultimate measurement of a company's success. All of a company's activities can be reduced to a single number.

The same is not true for a human life.

These are the things not taught in business school.

One thing always to keep in mind: How will you measure your life?

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The older I get, the more I strive simply to be present.

I think it is the great challenge - but not "measurable". All those measurable things have lost or are losing their importance. But the present is still the point of power!

Being able to be present more and more is the crown jewel (to me).

To use an example: kids don't like you - try being present with them,

At 62 you kind of shy away from 'measuring' things

Things i wish were bigger are shrinking.
Things I wish were smaller are getting bigger.
My rear view mirror is filled with a mix from extremely bad to extremely good things I have done, or have been, or have had.
But I do spend more time thinking about what message I want to leave behind.
Coincidentally just today this man's example came across my monitors;
After being gone for a year this young man who died suddenly at 30 has reached across America and touched untold lives in a way that causes people to want to replicate his intentions, over and over.

Michael Nystrom's picture

62 huh?

My best friend in Boston from the whole Ron Paul movement is 62.

I used to think that was old, but he's a young 62, and I can tell, so are you.

Thanks man. I can't wait to get back to Boston.

When you're 62 you'll

know what I mean.

I will not measure, I will be measured

when I die.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

You will have etched one heck of a dash...

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Wow, what a great question

and great responses below.

I don't think I can measure my life, I have never been good with measurements and would likely miss the mark.

I try to live my life in such a way that when I die, I have few regrets. I try to keep my life simple and uncomplicated because that is what works best for me.

Peace, Love and Grace may it save the human race.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Before I watched Clay Christensen

My answer was: "I measure my life by how much I was able to love."

After I watched Clay Christensen, my answer is based on his "end of life scenario".. God will ask one question.. "Do you love Israel?"

This reflects the measure of my life, because some things in life are easy to love.. some people are easy to love.. but it is that which is not easy to love that needs genuine love the most, and since my measure is to love and having faith and hope that love will be shared.

I would use a "Perfect Mirror"

Self assessment is good, but what perfect measuring stick does one use at the end of the day to measure what our day or our life has been?

It must be the Bible, that "Perfect Mirror" that reveals our inner person and then convicts us of our shortcomings! We ALL sin.....every day!

THAT is why God gave us the perfect Law, to show us our miserable condition of sin and inability to keep the Law perfectly, that Law which is our "shoolmaster" that then drives us to seek Christ as our Mediator and Redeemer for He is the ONLY way unto salvation.

THAT is why Jesus came.....for sinful man!

What relief! What peace can one now enjoy!

THAT is what should be celebrated not only this time of year but every day for those who know the truth.

Jesus came for sinners like you and me!

We may live our lives as best we can and yet, we all fall short, none can be good enough.

However, if we are Christ's then we are forgiven and secured in Him, and we strive to live according to His teachings and commandments!

No matter what kind of life one has lived, there is yet hope for forgiveness and eternal life if they will humble themselves, repent of their sins, and seek His face for mercy.

That's the Good News for all who call upon the name of the Lord!

Life is short, eternity is not!

My life has been one of sin....My God is the God of mercy to all who call upon Him!

Praise be His name!

Peace everyone

" In Thee O Lord do I put my trust " ~ Psalm 31:1~

Denise B's picture

What a great response

Holbrook, and similar to what I was thinking. I measure my life by how well I live up to the standards which Jesus set for us, and although I often fall short, I often remind myself of Lamentations 3:22-23 "It is because of His mercies we are not consumed, His compassions fail not, they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness"! What a comforting thing to be reminded of!

But to answer Michael's question, I will measure my life by how much I loved (even my enemies); how much I gave (especially of myself) at those moments when I felt like giving nothing at all; how often I forgave (even when I didn't want to) and how often did I share the Gospel with a dying world that desperately needs it. Love, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, generosity and love of God and His Son, these are the things that matters most to me and the yardstick by which I measure my life by.

I don't understand the need to measure

I'm not in competition with myself. Some interests will stay with me, some will be like clouds that I will watch for awhile but then they'll fade and a new cloud will pass my way. Sometimes I will choose to be active in some cause, other times I won't.
I don't see the real purpose of life as being 'successful' in life as far as the material side of it. I don't think of divorce as being unsuccessful, or if your kids want nothing to do with you anymore as being unsuccessful - sometimes things are not within your power to control - especially of those 'things' are other people.
I'm just living the life I was given. Decisions I make may not always turn out for what the 'best', but I have the choice to make the best of whatever situtation I'm in. I don't think I've ever planned anything in my life, I just let life happen and try to remember to enjoy whatever ride I'm on. I think that's more fun. If it works out, great, if it doesn't I wait for the next thing to happen. It always does.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

In the end you will not be the one

who measures your life, success or failure. The only way to measure up is to know what you are being measured against and unfortunately most don't know nor care. They measure themselves in their own mind and in the end they will fall short because they used the wrong measure.

Have I lived my life as an honest man?

I ask that question everyday. Did I lie, cheat, steal? Did I live up to my obligations? Did I give full value for my pay? Did I treasure what I valued? Did I face my demons and do I harbor illusions about my perfection?

I am what I am, and my life is unique to me alone. There is no monetary, professional, or physical yardstick that applies to what I think of myself.

Only the weight of my conscience tells me how I'm doing.

another year over.....

Matthew 16:26

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Thanks for the recommendation

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Be Your Own Media!!!

adopt a regret minimization framework

to quote Jeff Bezos :)

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

One last thing about business

Also, not every business measures its success by profit alone. Corporations are mandated by law to consider profit above all else but not every business is a corporation. And not every corporation obeys that mandate...

I know and have trained, over 150 7-figure producers that measure other attributes before measuring profit.

It's a sad truth that business schools don't teach these principles as a part of their standard curriculum, as they are a necessary component of durability.

by the goals i am able to accomplish

which change as I change.
I can't believe how my priorities have changed over the past ten years...over the past year. I chalk it up to maslows hierarchy of needs.

FYI, anyone read liberty street. It was written by one of the club's members. It was a good story. Full of great ideas.

Books that have influenced me:
1. Hatchet
2. Jonathon Livingston Seagull
3. Illusions
4. Understanding life.
5. Biocentrism


Jonathon Livingston Seagull
Started as a mechanic
then a teacher,
then a carpenter
then a salesman
then a banker
then a trader

what in the world

Are you messing with me???

I don't think it was personal

but it was very very funny, and when you read the book, maybe you will reflect to this thread and LOL with us? :D

By the Grace of God, I now

By the Grace of God, I now strive to make the world a better place for myself and others. Again, by the Grace of God, I have the tools and capability to alter and improve the conditions surrounding myself despite the odds against me. I use the tools and mind given me to better the world. Personal gain is secondary to personal principle and motive. I simply will not associate with peers who act primarily on the basis of personal gain. By faith in God, I'm so content with my life that the opinions of human peers no longer matter. Driven by the conviction of God's Holy Spirit, I act because I must.


I would like to measure my life by:

*How well I helped promote the cause of liberty
*How much individual freedom I was able to secure for myself
*How many cool toys I accumulated
*How many hot chicks I was able to satisfy...I mean "thoroughly satisfy."

Yes.....I am a shallow person.

man I can promise you

that I would come up a zero based on the satisfaction of hot chicks metric.

I can't stop myself :) how about...

Great post Michael. I don't know much about this guy, but I enjoyed the video. Which book do you recommend first?

I AM is all that is. Everything else is malleable.

I've been finding great ideas

and compassionate thought with James Altucher's blog

Great stories with important lessons. Like Altucher's fables.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

Jefferson's picture


Interesting what gets noticed and what slips through the cracks these days. Thanks for the post.