Source: Professor Clayton Christensen, “How will you measure your life?”

In closing, everyone took a minute to read the above passage from Professor Clayton Christensen. The influential business thinker who promulgated the idea of disruptive innovation passed away last month.

The first participant to speak had an adverse reaction to the passage. He took issue with the words: “your life will be judged.” He said that he doesn’t care about what other people think or how they judge him. He measures his life inwardly and “optimizes for happiness.” Others were not hung up on the wording as much and shared their thoughts.

One person said that, as he was reading, all he could picture were his kids. That’s his metric. Many agreed that family was all that matters in the end, although we tend to forget this in the humdrum of daily life. One of the participants said that Paul Graham taught her to ask a simple question to minimize regret and make the right decisions. “Would I regret doing this when I’m 80?” As an example, given the choice between a meeting that just came up and picking up kids from school, she would choose the latter by reminding herself of this. Another person added, it is so important to learn to say no.

“Essentialism is a powerful antidote to the craziness that plagues our lives,” someone wisely said. He was referring to the lessons he took from reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism. It completely reoriented the way he lives his life through the disciplined pursuit of less. By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, he has focused his priorities to channel his time and energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that truly matter. His metric is to live up to his potential and strive to be the best version of himself.

One of the participants said that his metric is gratitude. “What am I grateful for today?” This way, he’s always on the lookout for opportunities to feel grateful. “Gratitude creates an abundance mindset... It’s a lifestyle choice that is the key to being happier.”

Another person said that he believes true happiness can only be found in the present moment. But we don’t appreciate the living present because of our “monkey minds” that keep us busy and distracted throughout out the day. His metric: be completely present. “Everything will then come to its proper place.”

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