The Good Life Sessions – MBA Learnings

I wrote about the idea of searching for the good life 3 weeks ago. That was the day we conducted the first of three “Good Life Sessions” in school. It was a fascinating process and experience for a few reasons.

First, I have never seen this topic tackled. Books have come at it from various angles but there was no ready made content or structure we could use. So, both the roots as well as the structure came from personal experiences. That always makes it interesting because personal journeys are rarely similar. That said, there are underlying principles that we can extract.

So, in some ways, we never set out for this to be perfect solution to anyone seeking the good life (that would either be a result of extreme vanity or foolishness – depending on your point of view). Instead, we framed this as a way to get exposed to tools and frameworks that would hopefully get our attendees thinking about these things and help them on their journeys. At the end of the day, 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. And, we tried aggregating these principles in these sessions.

We broke the idea of “the good life” down by asking 3 questions. As a special gift to you, we’d like to share the worksheets we worked through during the sessions. Each of the links lead to the worksheets –
1. What do I value?
2. How do I find my personal mission? (Mission statements examples sheet)
3. How do I create an action plan to live a life consistent with this mission?

We worked hard to keep it 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 me on the email address in worksheet III.

As I wrote in that original post, there are many false assumptions around ideas of happiness and purpose. Many assume that you only pursue these once you become wildly successful. That’s missing the point. It is only when we live a life we consider “good” do we feel successful in the first place. This isn’t about getting things “right” or being “balanced.” I keep going back to the ‘life as an ECG’ analogy – good lives work like good ECG readings. There’s a lot of fluctuation around the line. Too much fluctuation is a problem. A flat line is a massive problem.

It works the same way with attempting to lead a good life. First, you define what is good and, in that process, create that anchor line. And, then, you spend every day balancing around that line.It’ll never be perfect. But, it’ll be good. And, most importantly, it’ll be good as you define it. And, I’d argue that there are few things that matter more..

(Hat tip to the Good Life Team for making this happen. And, to the one and only Clayton Christensen, whose fantastic book “How will you measure your life?” has inspired me more than any other)