You can easily measure a business by looking at the numbers. Turnover, profit, costs, employee churn, etc.
But how do you measure your life? There are no universal metrics to assess your life.
So it’s up to every person to create their own way to measure where they are in life.
Some do that by looking at how much they earn compared to their peers. Some look at how far they climbed the corporate ladder. Others measure themselves by how they look.
I have studied how the most successful thinkers of our time measure their lives. The answer is surprising. You rarely hear that successful people measure their life by the size of their bank account or any other conventional measure.
Instead, people who‘re considered successful in the eye of society often look at these 3 factors:
I’ve experimented with improving all the three above things. What I’ve found is that they are all closely related.
When I have high energy, I’m in a good mood, and when I’m in a good mood, I do better work. And when I do better work, I feel satisfied with my life so I can give more to the people in my life. And that improves my relationships.
And what’s the secret to a good life? Good relationships.
Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, and author of How Will You Measure Your Life? writes:
“The single most important factor in our long-term happiness is the relationships we have with our family and close friends.”
When it comes to relationships, quality matters more than quantity. Though it’s easy to pick on people who are influenced by social media, I still think it’s worth saying: No one cares about how many followers or online friends you have.
Real relationships take a long time to grow. And they are also unconditional. Most relationships are not real.
We only love someone until they, for example, change their views or gain a few pounds. Or we only invite friends to our birthdays as long as they go out with you and drink beer.
These types of conditional relationships are worthless. Real friendship and love is stronger than that. You support the people you love no matter what. That makes life rich.
1. Measuring Energy
Measuring your energy is easy. All you have to do is look at how you feel physically. I recently wrote about that specifically.
What matters is that you find ways to increase your energy. You can start by asking yourself one question:
What small thing can I do today that has a significant impact on my energy?
Here’s something that is true for everyone:
- Exercise every day — I lift weights four times a week, do two interval runs, and make sure I walk at least 30 minutes at a fast pace on the days I don’t work out.
- Eat well — I don’t follow a specific diet. I eat meat, bread, pasta, and a bunch of other things that are supposed to be bad for you. But I feel great. I just don’t eat processed stuff, and I eat very little sugar (I like chocolate). I also don’t consume more calories than I burn.
That’s one part of the equation. When I do those two things every day, I feel great. And my energy is also high. As soon as I stop working out or start eating unhealthy, I feel down. That’s how I know this works.
You can easily improve your energy by exercising more and eating well.
2. Measuring Work
When it comes to work, I don’t look at income, status, or other generic measures. Instead, I look at how much I can still learn. In other words: Have you reached your full learning potential?
Why do I look at learning and not income? Because it matters more.
Christensen puts it well in How Will You Measure Your Life?:
“In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder.”
Career and life success is directly related to how much you learn. And more importantly: How much you keep learning. Education never ends.
Also, income is directly related to your learning development. The more you learn, the more you earn. It’s true. Of course, there are limits to this statement. And knowledge must always be put into practice.
We’ve all heard about the smart people who’ve wasted their potential. To be successful, you must always act on what you know. Without action, knowledge is useless.
But generally speaking, the more knowledge you have (from experience or studying), the more you can contribute to your company, colleagues, clients, etc. And contribution translates to income.
3. Measuring Relationships
What you’ll find is that the more you contribute to other people’s lives, the better your relationships will be as a result. And that final ingredient completes the circle of life.
When you measure your relationships, only stick to yourself. Avoid the biggest mistake most of us make: We look at what others do for us. Otherwise, you risk that you start keeping score.
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” As the late Wayne Dyer said.
Instead of looking at how others treat you, measure how much time and energy you put into your relationships. That’s the only thing you can control.
My experience is that when you make time for the people that matter to you, the relationships improve. And if they do not, the relationship was probably not meant to be. We simply have to move on.
The real lesson here is that we always must focus on what we can control.
Our energy, our effort at work, and what we put into our relationships — these are all things we control. It’s one of the main lessons philosophers from all over the world and from all ages tell us.
Look at your life. Make a quick assessment of how you feel. All you have to do now is to improve it.