How Do You Wish To Live Your Life?

Prof. Parvindar Singh Narang, Adjunct Faculty, IQ City United World School of Business, Kolkata
The other day at the convocation, our Dean, Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Amitava Ghosh, gave a very inspiring speech, the central theme of which was “do what makes you happy”, or words to that effect. For young people (students starting their career, working people, etc), being happy could mean different things – for some it maybe wealth, for others work, or play, or family, or health. MBA students learn how to manage and grow and sustain a business. Wall Street/Dalal Street look towards businesses to show ever increasing profits. Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School, taught his MBA students how to apply innovation and management theories to build strong organisations. Christensen is well known for theories related to Disruption and Jobs to be Done. In his book “How will you measure your life”, he discusses how an MBA student could apply the various theories they have learnt to their own life (what is the job that your career is doing for you, applying Jobs to be Done) to achieve the happiness they deserve. They could apply these to their career objectives (money versus the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute, and be recognized). They could equally apply the MBA learnings to their relationship with family as a source of enduring happiness, and to society and community in terms of integrity. The key is to have a clear sense of purpose that defines what you stand for. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Stanford based authors of “Designing Your Life – Build a life that works” advocate Life by Design – designing a life that works for you, bring design principles to developing a “solution” – “A well-designed life is a life that is generative – it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise” (from their book describing the benefits of design thinking). The authors introduce a concept of “gravity problems” – there are some issues that cannot be resolved, some objectives that cannot be achieved. The authors identify some mind-sets that would help in designing a better life (health, work, play, love) – “curiosity, bias to action, reframing, awareness, radical collaboration”. And it’s never too late to design a life that you love. However, start as soon as you can. The average human lives for about 4000 weeks! Oliver Burkeman has written a book about this – “Four Thousand Weeks – Time Management for Mortals”. Some questions that he poses “How would you spend a week if you knew it were your last?”“Can one achieve work-life balance, whatever that might be”. And Burkeman makes some suggestions such as how to prioritize things, without simply adding stress about prioritizing things to life.