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Why People Get Divorced, Raise Bad Children, and Go to Jail

compartmentalizing your life | BIGG SuccessMany people fail to recognize an important natural law. By failing to see it, their lives are more complicated. They compartmentalize it because they don’t understand:

Your life is a system.

On The BIGG Success Show awhile back, we talked about why the concept of work – life balance misses the mark. Looking at your life holistically – and understanding how the pieces work together – is one of the secrets of BIGG success:

Don’t separate, integrate. It’s the first step. The second is to find ways for your professional life to add value to your personal life and vice versa. That’s systems thinking!

On this subject of thinking of your life as a systems, we found a great post by Clayton Christensen on the Harvard Business Review blog entitled How Will You Measure Your Life? It’s a great piece which we highly recommend to you.

He applies management theories to questions about happiness at work and home. It’s extensive so we’ll hit on a few of the highlights below including an explanation of why people get divorced, raise bad children and go to jail.

Your decisions shape your strategy

Christensen says some of his college classmates come to class reunions “unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children.” He says:

“I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them.”

However, that has been the result for a significant number of his classmates. Why does this happen?

In many cases, it’s because there’s a disconnection between their strategies and their purpose. It stems from a misallocation of resources.

“Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy,” he proffers. If you allocate your resources in line with your purpose, your results will be in line with it.

Your actions are a mirror

As humans, we often seek instant gratification. This means we forsake activities with the greatest long-term payoff in favor of activities that yield immediate results.

For example, you could invest more time today and make more money. The feedback loop is immediate and tangible.

Or you could spend the same time with your family. You may not know for years if your investment had any impact. You may never really know.

The key is to focus on your actions instead of just the results. Your actions are a mirror. They reflect who you are and, more importantly, who you are trying to become. When you think about your actions today, do you like the reflection you see?

Live with purpose, on purpose

Keep your purpose constantly in your mind. BIGG success is life on your own terms. There are five elements of BIGG success – money, time, growth, work and play. Money and time are your two resources. As you consider allocation decisions, ask yourself:

If I choose to invest my precious resources in this thing / activity, will it move me closer to life on my own terms? Why?

Then ask yourself “Why?” again. And again. It may take 5 Why’s to get to the underlying reason for this allocation decision. Once you’ve arrived at this point, ask yourself:

Is there a better option? Brainstorm for possibilities keeping your purpose at the forefront.

This simple process helps you invest your precious resources intentionally, instead of inadvertently. It helps you live with purpose, on purpose. It helps you think about the long-term impact.

Staying out of jail

Two of Christensen’s 32 Rhodes scholar classmates have done prison time (one being Enron’s former CEO, Jeff Skilling). “These were good guys – but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction,” says Christensen.

He talks about the theory of marginal cost. The marginal cost of going against your values “just this once” often seems very low. However, crossing the line one time makes it easier to rationalize the next time. The full cost of this course can be devastating.

He concludes, “It’s easier to hold your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold them 98% of the time.” It also keeps you out of jail!

Image in this post from danisman

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The Fine Line Between Living and Dying a Slow Death

Fine line | Bigg Success“Woke up, fell out of bed

Dragged a comb across my head

Found my way downstairs and drank a cup

And looking up, I noticed I was late

Found my coat and grabbed my hat

Made the bus in seconds flat

Found my way upstairs and had a smoke

And somebody spoke and I went into a dream”

~ The Beatles, A Day in the Life

Do these lyrics describe a routine? Or is this person in a rut?

It’s a fine line. Many people cross the line without realizing it.

Routines help you do all that you do more efficiently. Ruts impede your effectiveness.

Routines are processes

In your small business, you probably have certain processes. These processes are in place because you’ve found they are the fastest way to complete a task, given the expected standards.

Routines are the equivalent in your personal life.

You probably shower without even thinking about it. In essence, you’ve reached a flow state.

It’s automatic. You can multi-task effectively – plan your day while you clean up, for example.

Ruts start as routines

In your small business, you don’t develop a process and forget it. You constantly look for ways to improve it using feedback from both internal and external sources.

A rut starts out as a routine. The routine turns into a rut because we don’t seek feedback.

We stop looking for ways to improve it. We just do the same old thing, day after day, month after month, year after year.

Dr. Peter Laurence said, “A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.” It’s a slow death.

Put life into your process

Once you understand that ruts start as routines, you can get out of a rut more easily. Put some life back into the process:

  • Start small

    Think about a seemingly insignificant routine that’s turned into a rut. For example, if you commute, to what do you listen on the drive to work?

  • Think about alternatives

    Instead of music, listen to talk. Instead of talk, listen to an informational podcast, like The BIGG Success Show.

  • Get feedback from others

    Ask others what they listen to while they drive. Expand your quest beyond your inner circle.

  • Test

    Try on different things. Maybe the first podcast won’t tickle your fancy. Don’t eliminate podcasts in general; try another one in that genre. If it’s still not your cup of tea, try a different genre.

  • Transform.

    This is the goal, right? Evaluate your progress. Is your new routine helping you grow? If not, change it up again. If so, keep going.

    Just remember – transformation isn’t an event. It’s a living process.

Image in this post from kovik.

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25 Tips to Take Control of Your Life

By Bigg Success Staff
05-13-08

Work – Life Balance

25 

Most people find that achieving balance between their personal and professional lives is one of the biggest challenges they face. In this article, we summarize five articles that help you get in control. Each article includes five tips, which he have highlighted here, along with the link to each article so you can explore the topic more if you want.

5 Burnout-Busting Tips

#1 – Combat boredom.

#2 – Avoid focusing too much on your job.

#3 – Avoid office politics.

#4 – Avoid overworking.

#5 – Better manage your time.

Get the full details on these tips to bust job burnout from this great article by Dr. John M. Grohol at PsychCentral. And now for some more on office politics …

5 Pointers on Office Politics

#1 – Don’t try to change or resist company culture.

#2 – Practice self-awareness.

#3 – Manage your stress levels.

#4 – Be approachable all the time.

#5 – Network before you need to network.

This is a fantastic post by Penelope Trunk, The Brazen Careerist and author of the fantastic book, The Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. Read the entire post for all the details of her five tips to survive politics at work.

5 Time Management Tricks

#1 – Tame the e-mail beast.

#2 – Eliminate unnecessary meetings.

#3 – Put up boundaries.

#4 – Find your rhythm and schedule around it.

#5 – Say no.

Marci Alboher did a great job with this article for the New York Times. Read her full description of each of these five tips and you’ll have time on your hands!

5 Tips to Set Boundaries Even if You’re a Workaholic

#1 – Choose flow-inducing hobbies that engage you and pull your mind away from work.

#2 – Set goals in your personal life just like you do in your professional life.

#3 – Schedule dates with people for non-work activities.

#4 – Use technology to separate your professional and personal lives.

#5 – Decide in advance when you want to say no.

These suggestions come from the blog of Tim Ferriss, author of the great book, The 4-Hour Workweek.  This was a guest post by Anne Zelenka, editor at large of Web Worker Daily. Check out her full article on five boundary-setting tips for people who are obsessed with work

5 Tips to Make Your Next Family Vacation a Bigg Success

#1 – Try something different.

#2 – Do your homework.

#3 – Leave work at home.

#4 – Plan for anxiety.

#5 – Make time to bond.

You can read all that Dr. Edythe Harvey has to say about making the most of your next family vacation in this great article from Newswise.

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(Image by Lincolnian,CC 2.0)