On the last day of class, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, asks his students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves to find cogent answers to three questions:
First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?
Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.
As the students discuss the answers to these questions, I open my own life to them as a case study of sorts, to illustrate how they can use the theories from our course to guide their life decisions.
More at How will you measure your life?
Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, is best known for his theory of disruptive innovation, in which he warns large, established companies of the danger of becoming too good at what they do best.
People who knew him personally speak of a fine human being.
You can find some of his seminal Harvard Business Review pieces here.
often comes in the form of a relevant, timely, open-ended question.
Manfred Kets de Vries at KnowledgeINSEAD:
Consider your life today and answer the following questions:
- Do you feel that your life is out of control and that you have too many things on your plate?
- Do you often feel confused, anxious, irritable, fatigued or physically debilitated?
- Are you having increased interpersonal conflicts (e.g. with your spouse, children, other family members, friends or colleagues)?
- Do you feel that negative thoughts and feelings are affecting how you function at home or at work?
- Is your work or home life no longer giving you any pleasure?
- Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands of emails, messaging tools and social media?
- Do you feel that your life has become a never-ending treadmill?
- Are you prone to serious pangs of guilt every time you try to relax?
- Have you recently experienced a life-altering event such as a change of marital status, new work responsibilities, job loss, retirement, financial difficulties, injury, illness or death in the family?
- When you are stressed out, do you feel that you have nobody to talk to?
If you have answered “yes” to most of these questions, stress might have started to build up. If you feel close to your breaking point, it’s high time to take action.
In conversations with managers, I often hear people say something like “Well, I can’t help myself, that’s who I am, I’m” an engineer / a finance person / a lawyer, etc.
I share Stephen Fry’s consideration in The Guardian:
“We are not nouns, we are verbs.
I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next.
I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”