Searching for ‘The Good Life’ | MBA Learnings
“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.” — Clay Christensen
“Productivity is the act of bringing a system closer to its goal.” — Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt
“The most important thing about the good life is that you get to decide what good is. If you are living someone else’s good life, you’re making a huge mistake.” — Seth Godin
Over the past two years, these three quotes have given me plenty of food for thought and have helped me think about two big questions:
- What is the yardstick with which I will measure my life?
- Assuming the goal is the “Good Life,” how do I define the good life?
After a bit more thought, these questions also lead to more difficult questions – Who am I? What matters most to me and why?
For many of us, the weight of these questions can leave us overwhelmed, almost to the point that tackling our ever-growing daily to-do list feels like a productive relief and welcome distraction!
And yet, is there anything more important than asking these questions to ourselves? There is no productivity if we’re not working towards the goal, after all.
The Good Life sessions
Last month, Professor Cast, Professor Corona, Professor Kraemer, Professor Murnane, Lexie Smith and I launched a three-part workshop series we called “The Good Life” sessions. Our idea was to help our classmates and friends breakdown this life concept into three meaningful questions:
- What do I value? (Week 1)
- How do I find my personal mission? (Week 2)
- How do I create an action plan to live a life consistent with this mission? (Week 3)
We launched the Good Life series, in part, because we had never seen this topic tackled. From our research, many books have approached this topic from various angles, but none had created any ready-made content or structure for us to use.
We framed these sessions to our classmates and friends as an opportunity to get exposed to tools and frameworks that would hopefully help each of them start to think about those three important questions and ultimately help each of them progress on their path to the Good Life.
It turned out there was a huge group of students who were just as interested as Lexie and I were in getting started on this journey. In the first two minutes of registration for the Good Life series, we received more than 70 sign-ups. After four hours, more than 25% (+300) of the student body had registered. Weeks later, we continue to hear incredible Good Life stories from friends and classmates who have begun to change their daily habits, who have changed their priorities to focus more on what they value most and who have created new found friendships with other “Good Lifers.”
Creating your own “Good Life”
Designing a life you consider “good” is a personal endeavor. There’s no tool or template that will solve it for you. However, there are principles that you can apply. As a special gift to you, we’d like to share each session’s worksheet that we created for our friends and classmates. The links below lead to the session worksheets:
As you can see from the worksheets, we worked hard to keep the process simple. Hopefully you’ll find it easy to understand and follow as well. If you have any trouble, please just leave a comment or email us at the email address in the final worksheet.
Continuing the “Good Life” journey
There are many false assumptions around ideas of happiness and purpose. Many assume that you only achieve happiness and purpose once you become wildly successful.
That’s missing the point.
It is only when we live a life we consider “good” that we feel successful in the first place. It isn’t about getting things “right” without wavering. It’s about working at living “the Good Life” each and every day.
Think of life as an EKG: a good life works like a good EKG reading. For every EKG, there is a “good” target heart rate. Most of the time, your heart rate fluctuates around that target line. Too much fluctuation is a problem. Too little fluctuation and you can flat line, which is a massive problem.
This process works the same way when attempting to lead a good life. First, you define what is “good” and, in that process, create that ideal target line. And then you spend every day balancing around that line, recommitting to your action plan that aligns with your values and personal mission statement.
It will never be perfect.
But it will be good. And, most importantly, it will be good based on how you define it. And we’d argue that there are few things that matter more than that.
Rohan Rajiv is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg he worked at a-connect serving clients on consulting projects across 14 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. He blogs a learning every day, including his MBA Learnings series, on www.ALearningaDay.com.
Lexie Smith is a second-year student in Kellogg’s dual-degree MMM program. Prior to attending Kellogg, she worked in private equity and at General Electric. This past summer, she interned as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and will join the firm full-time after graduation.