A Scorecard for Your Life

Beware of comparing yourself to others. Instead ask: Did I fulfill my potential? Did I push myself a little harder today? Did I do my best?

Was watching a video from Clayton Christensen, renowned Harvard business professor, talking about how one would know whether someone’s life was “successful.” He talked about how many of his fellow Ivy-league classmates back in the day were making hundreds of thousands of dollars and married to beautiful wives after getting out of college: Yet felt absolutely miserable ten years later because they focused only on their careers, leading to divorces with their wives and a terrible relationship with their children.

Here are men who, on the outside, society would’ve said they were successes. Relative to the population, they made a great living. Relative to the population, they married drop-dead gorgeous-wives. Relative to society, they had it all. Yet they fell apart. Why?

Clayton muses that one reason his classmates completely fell to shreds is because their vision of success was based on how high in the social-hierarchy they stood. They were placing their barometer of success based on how well everyone else around them was doing, instead of on how well they were maximizing their own capabilities.

Another great example pushing home this point: I recall Legendary-basketball coach John Wooden also writing about expecting this mindset in his players every game.

His barometer for his teams success was in how well his team filled their given potential for a game, not on the scoreboard. He even wrote about tearing into his team for playing to half their potential, despite winning the game. Conversely, he wrote about congratulating his team for a game well played, despite the fact they lost with a not-so-small margin.

So tying it all together, the way I’ve personally chosen to determine how successful I am is through this question: Did I do my best today? Did I fulfill my talents and potential to their maximum?

Some days I answer yes, others days my lazy tendencies get to me. But at a fundamental level, it’s these questions that I use as the scorecard for my own life.

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