What Does a Life Well Lived Look Like to You?

What do you think of this (emphasis is mine)?

Flextime, dress-down Fridays and paternity leave mask the core issue: certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged, on a day-to-day basis, with a young family. Reality is people working long hard hours at jobs they hate to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Sure, you say, work-life balance is a great idea, but I’m busy. And there’s no web app for it.  You can’t do it with a spreadsheet.  Wait – can I get an app for my iPhone?

Nigel Marsh – author of the quote above, and the books Fat, Forty and Fired and Overworked and Underlaid – quit work for a year, stayed home instead, and discovered:

work-life balance is easy when you have no work.

The video here is 10 minutes of Nigel on work-life balance at the recent TED Sydney. It’s funny, it’s insightful, it’s short, and it makes a lot of sense.

(if you don’t see it here, click here for the original)

I suppose it’s ironic that I like the following quote, given that I’ve been an employer for 20 years, but I do; I think it’s good advice:

Never put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial corporation. I’m not talking about just the bad companies, but all companies. It’s what they do, even the good, well-intentioned companies. Daycare in the office for example is so you spend more time at the office.

And he finishes with this summary (emphasis is mine again):

Small things matter. It’s not dramatic upheaval, it’s small things. If enough people do it, we can change society’s definition of success, so we can all have a better view of what a life well lived looks like.


  • Charles Robinson says:

    I don’t buy things to impress other people. I have a very utilitarian outlook and I buy things because I find them interesting and useful. Sometimes the interest is in how other people will perceive them, but my intent is never to impress. It’s to delight, shock or amaze.

    I work long hours at a job I hate because the job I would love to do doesn’t pay enough for me to afford the lifestyle I enjoy. Either I can lower my expectations or keep doing the work. So far I have chosen to do the work. I’m working on changing that, though.

  • Ryan Williams says:

    This subject is near and dear to my heart because I have done it poorly in the past. I loved the quote and the TED talk. Thank you very much for sharing this.

    Above you mention that there is no web app for this. Actually their is. Its named Growth Notes and it is 100% free. I originally created it for myself and now I share it with everyone for free. It’s located at GrowthNotes.com for anyone interested. Feel free to check it out.

    With respect,

    Ryan Williams
    100% Free

  • Fred Leo says:


    Thanks for making me aware of this TED Talk. Nigel Marsh was excellent.

    • Tim Berry says:

      Fred, thanks for stopping by, nice to see you here again. I see you a lot as @solobizcoach on Twitter. Tim

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