Finding satisfaction in your work

There are no quick fixes for the fundamental problems of life, but there are tools which can help you make good choices appropriate to the circumstances of your life, according to Clayton Christensen in his book How Will You Measure Your Life?: Finding Fulfilment Using Lessons From Some of the World’s Greatest Businesses. The book takes the interesting approach of applying a range of business principles to personal life decisions.

In broad terms, the book tackles the issues of finding happiness in your career, finding happiness in your relationships, and staying out of jail. Interesting observations include:

  • Finding yourself stuck in an unhappy career is often the result of misunderstanding what motivates you
  • Financial compensation is a hygiene factor, not a motivator; people are motivated by challenging work, recognition, responsibility and personal growth.
  • Success required the balancing of careful planning with taking advantage of unanticipated opportunities.
  • Your strategy will not be effective unless you allocate your resources – including your time, money and energy – in alignment with that strategy.
  • If you do not invest adequately in relationships with your family and close friends when they seem to be going well, you may lose the opportunity.
  • The path to happiness in a relationship is about finding someone who you want to make happy.
  • Bombarding your children with resources and experiences may actually prevent them from developing the skills needed to solve hard problems.
  • To succeed in life, children need to experience situations such as difficult teachers, failing at a sport, and dealing with cliques.
  • Like organisations, families have cultures which can have positive or negative effects on how children behave.
  • Major integrity failures usually start as a series of small seemingly innocuous decisions.

The book deals with a subject which is unusual for a business book, but it does so in a very helpful way. In the pressures of daily business it is far easier to devote your time and energy resources to things which seem to bring a readily measurable reward, such as increased profits; however this often results in failure to invest in the things which bring true happiness in life. I found the book both engaging and convicting, and I highly recommend it.

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