On our own terms...

Below are some excerpts from a good article I read the other month. I
was just going through some notes and thought it was worth sharing....
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" I apply the tools of econometrics a few times a year, but I apply my
knowledge of the purpose of my life every day. It's the single most
useful thing I've ever learned. I promise my students that if they
take the time to figure out their life purpose, they'll look back on
it as the most important thing they discovered at HBS. If they don't
figure it out, they will just sail off without a rudder and get
buffeted in the very rough seas of life. Clarity about their purpose
will trump knowledge of activity-based costing, balanced scorecards,
core competence, disruptive innovation, the four Ps, and the five
forces."
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When people who have a high need for achievement—and that includes all
Harvard Business School graduates—have an extra half hour of time or
an extra ounce of energy, they'll unconsciously allocate it to
activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments. And our
careers provide the most concrete evidence that we're moving
forward.You ship a product, finish a design, complete a presentation,
close a sale, teach a class, publish a paper, get paid, get promoted.
In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your
spouse and children typically doesn't offer that same immediate sense
of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It's really not until 20
years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say,
"I raised a good son or a good daughter." You can neglect your
relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn't
seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel
have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and
overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving
relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring
source of happiness.
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I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous
revenue for companies that have used my research; I know I've had a
substantial impact. But as I've confronted this disease, it's been
interesting to see how unimportant that impact is to me now. I've
concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn't
dollars but the individual people whose lives I've touched.
I think that's the way it will work for us all. Don't worry about the
level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the
individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final
recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be
judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end,
your life will be judged a success.
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