Eudaemonic Performance Metrics

Cluster_map_blankA few weeks ago, my wife and I attended a fancy brunch to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday. Between mimosas, the feted one was asked how she felt about being in her dreaded 40s.

“Fantastic, actually…I’ve decided to treat this as my decade of self-improvement”.

Although she didn’t specify what she intended to improve, I thought it was a great answer. And it made me think…about goals, plans, priorities, and how we measure success. More than anything, I thought about how we engage in a lot of goal-setting and planning in our work-related lives. By contrast, we seldom look inward and apply a rational planning process to our personal, “global” lives, of which work is merely a component part. We think in terms of career trajectories, but allow our overall existence to meander along a random goat path.

Odd, don’t you think? Considering this is our only life, I think we have it completely backwards. We should identify a set of overarching, core priorities, and then work outward from there. Work would probably be relegated to nothing more than a subordinate, enabling sub-plan.

In a past life, I had a job that involved all sorts of planning, and along the way I was exposed to some really useful tools. I’ll share some of this in subsequent posts. But before we get into it, there’s a fundamental consideration at the heart of it all:

What does it mean to live well?

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Lentus Ambulandus is New Escapologist's Chief Leisure Officer. He advocates doing the things worth doing (hiking, cycling, sipping coffee, reading books), and proudly accomplishes less in a month than most people do in a week. His creed is simple: Death Before Employment.

4 Responses to “Eudaemonic Performance Metrics”

  1. monkeymind says:

    An excellent point!
    It astounds me daily how few get this (though, of course, things are designed so we’re not meant to!)
    Also, in terms of tools for living, you reminded me of a fantastic book called ‘How Will You Measure Your Life?’ by Clayton M. Christensen that shows how businessy ideas or ‘tools’ for management can be effectively turned round and used to benefit one’s own life.
    In answer to your question, I’ve found developing an ability over time to identify and eliminate/avoid bullshit has helped me live better!
    Have a great day.

  2. Drew Gagne says:

    Monkeymind: thanks for your comment, and for the book recommendation. Will check the local library to see if it’s in stock!

    And thanks also for mentioning the “elimination of bullshit”. This is something I’ll discuss in a upcoming post, when we get into the meat and potatoes of our planning methodology. Initially, we’ll go through an exercise of problem definition / framing, the essential first step in any plan. What is it, exactly, that you want to achieve? What actions are essential in order to accomplish that outcome? What things must you NOT do (aka the bullshit) in accomplishing your desired outcome? And what are the key factors that you’ll have to consider when formulating your plan?

    Thanks again, and stick around.

  3. Michael says:

    Great post! Have spent the last few years thinking long and hard about this very thing i.e. How to live well. The book mentioned by Monkeymind is indeed worth a read. Some good stuff in there.

    As you say, it really is astonishing how people seem to live out their priorities backwards. I’ve come to think of it in terms of baking a cake. You decide first what kind of cake you want, how it should look, taste, etc. and then add the ingredients in the right proportions so that it tastes as good as possible. But most people these days do the exact opposite: they just throw in as many ingredients as they can in as large a quantity as possible, and then they wonder why it tastes so bloody awful.

  4. Drew Gagne says:

    Hi, Michael. Thanks for the comment. Most people either don’t think about the desired end result, or they have a foggy, misguided notion of it. In my upcoming series of posts called “Plan Your Escape!” I’m going to provide a methodology for turning that thinking on its head. We’re going to go deep into a concept called “effects-based planning”. Stay tuned, and keep baking that cake!

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