Happiness in Life and Work. Hint : It Ain’t The Dollars

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This website is focused on covering financial topics and the like where making money, saving money and spending money are key themes.  As I research the topics I write about I often come across various articles that talk about the important things in life, and in the vast majority of these articles money is nowhere near the top.  In fact this prescient article by Professor Clayton M. Christensen contains some nice references to the three important yard sticks I use when it comes to measuring success life – how you live, how you work and how you treat your family.


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. 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.

When it comes to work and assessing your career, the article says “One of the theories that gives great insight on the first question—how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. The choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose Clarity about their purpose will trump knowledge of activity-based costing, balanced scorecards, core competence, disruptive innovation, the four Ps, and the five forces. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.

When it comes to family : You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating  [But over the long term, the neglect will build up until one day you no longer have any connection], People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to under-invest in their families and over-invest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.

Ralph Waldo Emerson defined success with these words: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Hopefully after you read this article, and the one referenced above, you will take a step back and think about the important things in life. This is not to say keeping your financial or work life in order is not important, it just shouldn’t be everything.

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Michelle May 31

Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the article

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