There are many ways of measuring a life. But let’s see if we can formalize it a bit with a few ‘life success equations.’
In high school, I gravitated toward math since it was clean, precise. I found the liberal arts to be stark contrast in its subjectivity. It was ‘squishy’. I hate squishy. (I must confess – I do seek to be a better writer, an endeavor that is currently squishy until the AI completely revolutionizes English generation at which point it will be beautifully )
As I get older, I find more that the world is infinitely complex. I find that life is not so simple. In a desire to reduce complexity and friction for myself, I’ve come up with a few equations.
I’m interested in figuring out metrics I can optimize for. I want to keep a running list of these equations and add more that I find useful. This will also help my focus — one of my values I seek to improve in. As the famous Druckerism goes: ‘what gets measured, gets managed’
I proudly introduce:
David Parkinson’s Handy Life Equations For Maximizing Your Life (A Continually Updated List) :::
$Life Success = \sum (rejection * valueOfEachRejection)$
I firmly believe that one’s success in life are directly proportional to the amount of rejection someone has experienced. Many people fear the pain of rejection so dearly that they seek safe environments where rejection is difficult if not impossible (I’m looking at you government jobs).
It’s not just the amount of rejections someone obtains, it’s also the VALUE of said rejections. For instance, if I simply went door to door selling paperclips I’d obtain many rejections but since the product I’m selling is low value, I’d achieve lower success than someone who figured out a higher margin product to sell.
This also means that if we want to be more successful, we can try to obtain rejections that matter more. I.e. the business distribution deal that could really move your life forward, or asking that person out who you really, really like. You want to be pursuing difference makers.
nb4 Walmart: Walmart sells millions of cheap items so it doesn’t really count.
$valueCreated = \sum (amountProduced) – \sum (amountConsumed)$
As covered in my production versus consumption series, there are societal forces at work to maximize your consumption and minimize your production. Your net value created is the sum of everything of value you produce less the amount you’ve consumed.
It’s not enough to produce. Look at the 78% bankruptcy or financial distress rate of former NFL players, or the 60% of NBA players who are bankrupt within 5 years. You must also reign in your consumption.
$netWorth = \sum (valueCreated)$
This is one of my takeaways from attending Tony Robbin’s Unleash the Power Within seminar courtesy of my buddy VJ Anma. The gist is if you want more net worth, provide more value. If you want to double your net worth, try providing 10X more value to people.
$skill = \sum (timeSpent * intensity * focus)$
This week I purchased a digital piano at a pawn shop and regretted not buying one earlier. I am realizing that it’s not just the time spent, it’s also about how well I focus and if I’m giving 100% of my effort (intensity).
When I play the guitar while watching Netflix or a boxing match I’m practicing but I’m not playing with intensity and focus, and such the session was of lesser value than if I remove all distractions.
$satisfaction = \sum (taskImportance * taskUrgency) – \sum (wastedTime)$
– or –
$satisfaction = \sum (2MarshmallowDecisions – 1MarshmallowDecisions)$
The Eisenhower Matrix, is a great way to manage your time, as long as you realize that as according to ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ author Stephen Covery would tell you, you should focus on working on tasks of importance to the point where fewer and fewer urgent tasks pop up out of the woodwork.
I have found that at the end of the day, I am proud of the times where I times where I ‘do the harder thing’, which is another way of waiting for the second marshmallow as opposed to eating the one marshmallow now.
Wasted time in the form of procrastination or working on tasks of non-importance (again, another form of procrastination) detract from the quality of my day.
What about you? Do you have a life equation you like? Did I miss one? Did I get one wrong? Please let me know in the comments.
PS: Is this article good enough to release?. Probably not. 😛
PPS: But I am impressed that I wrote it in about an hour or less.