How to set those Long Term Virtues

 

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Setting long-term goals can be tough. All this delayed gratification does not fit in with our present life-style. Can you imagine any sort of video game where it actually took you 30-40 years before you reached that final level? Sales of the game would be non-existent. Well, that’s what life looks like.

If we what we are looking for in life is a combination of happiness and purpose to total well-being, then how do we get from here to there? If you don’t know where you’re going, then any path will do. But if you don’t even know you have to go somewhere, then that’s a bit more inertia to get over. Remember, the longest journey over a cliff begins with the first misstep. But we are talking about living a full life, so it’s worth the risk.

A lot of us become involved in setting long term objectives in business.  One might think that using a business model to one’s own life simply allows the problem to take control over a larger portion of your existence. And we all know that vampires, and lawyers, need to be invited in to your life. So keep an oaken stake around just in case. I’m not sure what works on vampires. Sunlight perhaps.

But what if there were a way to try and apply what you have already learned to living a better life? Most people are involved in business in some fashion or another in order to earn income. Would applying those business skills somehow be of help to strategically lay out your own life to achieve your own personal vision and mission statement?

 Doing what you know and do best applies to most things. Certainly this would also apply to life, and using those honed business skills would make your life one of the top organizations for years to come. A Fortune 500 CEO of your own existence. And not one of those sociopath CEOs, but rather a kind and benevolent CEO. Unless you are into that, and of course no judgments here.

Business ethics sounds like a contradiction of terms, but the majority of organizations incorporate value statements into their own mission statements. These general guidelines fall within corporate responsibility. The difficulty in defining a proper code of conduct comes from the broad range of perspectives. Ethical behavioural viewed from your perspective may not have the same quality when viewed from your neighbour’s perspective. But, we seem to know right conduct from wrong conduct. After you finished some questionable hi-jinks the day before, just think what the social media feed would look like in the morning.

Owners and managers realize the impact their business have within the greater realm of the community. Good business practices suggest conducting one’s operation with integrity.  Your brand comprises of everything you do and say, and everything you don’t do and say. And we are all capable of doing more than a simple chemical infused brown carbonated liquid can do in changing the world. 

A close analogy could be drawn between the normal corporation and the nature of men and women.  The essentially soulless corporation depends upon the values of those that run the organization in order to determine its own values.  Accordingly, one would think that the values of Corporation have been aligned with the individual’s direction.  Perhaps the true happiness of an individual may be somewhat analogous to the happiness of the organization. Actually, thinking that a corporation would be capable of smiling and not feeling anything would cause most people to flee the area.

What connection exists between how a corporation runs and how an individual can run their own life? Corporations have always used objectives such as profits, return on investment and dividends paid amongst other criteria.  Can this somehow predicate the happiness of the Corporation or do we have a similar kind of dichotomy between humankind and business? Does the satisfaction of these corporate criteria also refer only to contentment?  The satisfaction of these various corporate objectives does lead to the payment of dividends, wages and bonuses, which can lead to the contentment of individuals in the short term. Not getting wages and bonuses can lead to long-term pissed-off dissatisfaction.

If indeed the Corporation’s soul is made up of the individuals that run the organization, then we could have an argument that a similar dichotomy exists between contentment and true happiness within a corporation.  This would suggest that a corporation having the values of the individual would also seek to maximize its happiness by leading a highly moral life. However, a corporation full of jerks would remain a jerky corporation.

If a corporation could somehow be happy in the satisfaction of its mission and vision statement, then it stands to reason that a similar achievement of a personal mission and vision statement would lead to the well-being of an individual. Here we assume that happiness of the individual remains an important component from the individuation or actualization of the individual.  An individual would still want to become fully actualized through the accumulation of skills and wisdom and perhaps wealth.  If an individual wishes to become actualized through work, this is somehow consistent with leading a highly moral life.  One should be able to lead a highly moral life and still become actualized.  Actualization may have to do more with the contentment of the individual and the resolution of various desires of that particular individual. You may already be happy and not know it! No doubt some would find that they have already realized their goal as being depressing.

There are numerous books on getting an MBA in various business areas already. There are also several books on developing a balance between work and life. However, how does one apply business skills to organize one’s own life? Developing a personal vision and mission statement are sometimes mentioned, but they are not mentioned in the way of an entire life strategic plan. If you believe in this approach, then a good life simply does not happen. You have to figure out what that means to yourself and how you are going to achieve it. If you don’t have a passion for work, then perhaps use your work skills to develop a passion for your own life.

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