The Earned Life | Marshall Goldsmith

Summary of: The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment
By: Marshall Goldsmith

Introduction

Embark on a journey towards a fulfilling life with our summary of ‘The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment’ by Marshall Goldsmith. This enlightening read challenges the traditional Western paradigm and urges us to embrace the inevitability of change and impermanence in life. Drawing inspiration from Buddhist teachings, Goldsmith offers simple thought exercises and powerful tools to help readers live in the present and continuously earn their achievements. Key topics explored in this summary include the importance of accepting impermanence, the distinction between aspiration and ambition, and the role of dichotomy resolution in defining our aspirations. Join us in unraveling the secrets to leading a meaningful, ever-evolving life.

The Earned Life

The Earned Life is a book that explores the impermanence of life and how accepting it can unlock personal development. The author suggests a Buddhist paradigm that views life as constant change and renewal. Instead of the Western paradigm that promises permanent happiness through fixed goals, the author argues that accepting impermanence allows us to move on to new adventures and motivates us to be better in the present. The book emphasizes that everything needs to be re-earned constantly, as there is no point at which we finish earning our lives.

Letters of Gratitude and Investment

The book suggests an exercise in which you write two letters, one addressed to your past self, and the other to your future self. In the letter to your past self, you express gratitude for the choices, discipline, and hard work that made you the person you are today. The letter to your future self is an opportunity to invest in yourself by reflecting on the decisions you’re making today that will shape your future. The exercise helps you recognize the distinction between your past and present selves and how the paths you choose in the present can be different from the ones you chose in the past. The author shares examples of how past decisions have impacted her clients in positive ways. The key is to focus on the efforts you’re making today that will bring you and the people you love the greatest return in the future.

Simplify for Clarity

We make thousands of decisions every day, both big and small. However, constantly making choices can be mentally exhausting. To make important life decisions, we need to reduce complexity and ask ourselves basic questions that address a single factor. By doing this, we can find clarity and discover our real priorities and desires.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number of decisions you make every day? Scientists estimate that we make about 35,000 choices daily, both trivial and consequential. While inconsequential choices may not take up much of our mental energy, important life decisions can. With so much choice, where do we even begin? According to the author, we need to reduce complexity and ask ourselves basic questions that address a single factor.

The author suggests that asking questions like “What do I want to do with my life?” is too complex. Instead, we should ask ourselves questions like “Will this work?” or “Can I afford this?” These basic questions force us to confront the facts about our abilities, intentions, and priorities and can give us the clarity we need to make important life decisions.

The author also suggests that asking yourself where you want to live is a particularly helpful basic question. While this may seem obvious, it is rare that people stop to think about it. Once you have an idea of where your ideal life takes place, you can start to flesh out the details. What would you do all day in this place? Can you find fulfilling work? Will that work support your ideal lifestyle? Would the people you love be happy if you moved there? Is it somewhere you can raise a family? Is it somewhere you can meet inspiring people?

As you answer these questions, a picture of your real priorities and desires will emerge. Your current life will become clearer in relation to your ideal life, and you can start to make decisions that align with your priorities and bring you closer to your desired lifestyle.

In conclusion, we make thousands of decisions every day, which can be mentally exhausting. To make important life decisions, we should simplify and ask ourselves basic questions that address a single factor. By doing this, we can achieve clarity, discover our real priorities and desires, and make decisions that align with our ideal life.

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