How Will You Measure Your Life?

10 oktober 2014

In The Economist dated Oct 4th, 2014, we find the article Schumpeter, Philosopher Kings. The author of the article argues that it is time to replace many of the team building activities and "events" of many firms; activities such as; kayaking, climbing and other strange rituals.  It is time to replace this with something much more powerful: inward-bound courses. “Rather than grappling with nature, business leaders would grapple with big ideas. Rather than proving their leadership abilities by leading people across a ravine, they would do so by leading them across an intellectual chasm”.

More Philosophy based courses could provide leaders with both an anchor and a refuge. Lately we have seen leaders of big organizations becoming so obsessed with material success that they ignore their communities, families or break the law. Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School was so shaken by this and at how many of his contemporaries ended up with broken lives or in prison (!) that he developed a course called “How will you measure your life?”. And it has become one of HBS’s most popular courses.

And how will you measure your life? David Brendel, a philosopher and psychiatrist, recently wrote a blog for the Harvard Business Review on how philosophy can give you guidance.  Brendel also argues that leaders can benefit from philosophical self - reflections. First of all, it’s obvious that so many need to let our shoulders down and pause. And then we need to contemplate our core values. Brendel suggest the SANE mnemonic. SANE is drawing on key questions posed by preeminent Western philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Nietzsche, and the Existentialists.

Socrates: What is the most challenging question someone could ask me about my current approach?

 Aristotle: What character virtues are most important to me and how will I express them?

Nietzsche: How will I direct my will to power, manage my self-interest, and act in accordance with my chosen values?

Existentialist (e.g., Sartre): How will I take full responsibility for my choices and the outcomes to which they lead?


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