Twenty Years Down the Road

January 12, 2018 by Robert (Bob) W. Jones


Do you have a spare half hour? What will you do with it?

People, with a high need for achievement, commonly misallocate their resources. If they have a spare thirty minutes, they devote it to things that will yield tangible and near-term accomplishments.

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Clayton Christensen is thought by some to be the foremost management thinker in the world. As a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, he’s observed how many fails successful people have in managing their lives.

“People who are driven to excel have an unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and over invest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness,” Christensen said.

You have a multitude of demands that compete for your resources; you try to have a rewarding relationship with your spouse, raise great kids, contribute to your community, succeed in your career, contribute to your church, etc. The problem you face is a limited amount of time, energy and talent.

How much do you devote to each of these essential pursuits?

On the last day of class, Professor Christensen asks his MBA students to find answers to three questions:

  • First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
  • Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
  • Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail (or how can I live a life of integrity)?

    “I promise my students that if they take the time to figure out their life purpose, they’ll look back on it as the most important thing they discovered at HBS,” Christensen said.

    Christensen warns his students that they will unconsciously allocate resources to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments—finishing a design, closing a sale, teaching a class, publishing a paper, getting paid, or getting promoted.

    In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer the same immediate sense of achievement. It’s really not until twenty-years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, ‘I raised a good son or a good daughter’.

    The last statement caught my attention.

    My wife and I are more than twenty-years down the road from when our family moved to St. Albert. In those years, we’ve raised two sons. One is working in Saskatoon as a teacher and one is working as an actuary in Edmonton. Both are happily married and parenting.

    We invested our resources into their lives through family holidays, table talks, community sports, school activities and church involvement. Jocelyn and I still live in the same house and work in the same ministry we began twenty-seven years ago. We’ve invested major resources into those facets of our lives. However, our biggest investment has been into our family.

    That investment has paid huge dividends and zero regrets.

    That’s good management.

About this Contributor

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Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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