Robert Kennedy on Measuring Quality of Life


“The gross national product (of a country) does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
— Robert Kennedy, March 18, 1968

How are we measuring a life well lived?

Is it quality of life based on a personal assessment of what makes us happy? Or are we allowing media and popular culture, systems that know nothing about us, to steer us to false measurements?

What are the things that need to be happening for you to feel great? Making enough income so you don’t have too much financial stress? Spending lots of time with family for personal enjoyment plus the sense of harmony that comes with a house “in order”? Helping others less fortunate? Making time in your life to count your blessings? Having adequate alone time so you can assess things in your life, work and personal? Spending time in nature? Doing things you love whether travel, going to the movies, listening to music, playing sports, watching a ballgame on TV? Having a short commute? The list goes on.

You might not have arrived yet at your ultimate quality of life. For example, you have a goal of working within five miles of home and perhaps right now it is not practical. The point is to know what your quality of life drivers are so you can arrive at them as soon as possible but reckoning with

So going back to 30,000 feet, what does quality of life mean to you?

Quality of Life Perspectives: Mario Morino on Deprogramming Yourself When You Leave the Office

Mario Morino

Mario Morino

Mario Morino is a man for whom I have great respect for.  He is one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists I have come across:  he cofounded and built Legent Corporation and Venture Philanthropy Partners, his latest creation.

However, the reason people have great respect for Mario is the person he is.  Despite all of his accomplishments, you will not meet a more grounded person.  You can tell he is the same person he always was and that he treats people based on their character and not their station or resume.

In my interview with Mario he made the following comment which I think is a great bit of wisdom we should all think about for a minute.

“Sometimes the characteristics that served me in the business world—a hard charging, driving force — tend not to be  the best characteristics for husband and father. So I have made strides in deprogramming myself from the characteristics that are not great to use around the house.”

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The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

I hadn’t read Joseph Campbell in awhile.  When I came across this essay last week, I got sucked in.  This is inspiration.  Please share.

The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
What you have to do, you do with play.
Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior’s approach is to say “yes” to life: “Yea” to it all.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
When we talk about settling the world’s problems, We’re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Mike Krzyzewski Talks about Associating with Good People

Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski

I had the immense opportunity to interview Mike Krzyzewski at the Milken Conference earlier this year.  Coach K is one of the most successful coaches in any sport on any level. However, Mike is probably even more respected today for his role as a leadership expert, a motivational speaker and a philanthropist.

You can view the VIDEO of our interview with Coach Krzyzewski HERE.

Within the video there are index tags so you can navigate per your preferences.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts of the interview:

-  Self dialogue practice (”Being in tune with yourself” section)

-  Follow the people you can learn from, not the money.  (”Associating yourself with good people” section)

-  Getting outside, solitude. (”On spending time in nature” section)

I belive when people think of Mike Krzyzewski, they think of a high integrity person who aspires to be a successful human being rather than simply a successful professional.  That is what they respect and it’s also what leads to his quality of life.

Essay by Norman Lear, More Reflections on the Meaning of Life


Norman Lear

I came across this essay that Norman Lear wrote in Life magazine in 1992.  It is great. I mean really great.  For those of you that have not heard of Norman Lear he is a hugely talented entrepreneur and humanitarian.  Best known for creating All in the Family and The Jeffersons.  He’s also the founder of People for the American Way.

More Reflections on the Meaning of Life

Published by the Editors of Life Magazine, 1992

Rome fell, according to historian Lewis Mumford, not through political or economic or military ineptitude.  Rome collapsed through “a leeching away of meaning and a loss of faith.”  Mumford might just as well have been speaking about our culture—a society afflicted by cynicism, selfishness and an erosion of civility, a society that has lost faith in its leaders and institutions and hungers for a greater sense of human connectedness.

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Gary Vaynerchuk Shares His Views on Quality of Life

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

I’m sure you have heard of Gary by now. He is a gutsy, charismatic, hard working, gifted entrepreneur who owns the wine category online through his site WineLibrary.TV.  He is best known as one of the world’s experts in social media and online marketing.  However, as he continues to draw audiences, he is now just as appreciated by his talent as a motivational speaker.

He’s also hilarious and totally authentic.

The highlight of the video is Gary’s emphasis on the importance of being yourself.

“Not being yourself is exhausting.” How great a line is that?

In our 20’s and early 30’s, we start to realize the importance of being yourself for happiness and personal satisfaction reasons.  And then halfway through our careers, we start to realize that being yourself is also the greatest competitive advantage you could have for professional success.

Be yourself. There can’t be a better life tip than that, and Gary Vaynerchuk is making the world a better place by spreading this message.

At 2:48 into this video, Gary shares a best practice on how he deals with bad days.  It’s a great lesson about the importance of mindset; but it’s also completely hilarious.  I love that he gave us such a specific, quirky example.  That’s what it’s all about.

Click on the below to watch the video.   Let us know what you think.


Quality of Life Perspectives: Eric Bibb Talks About Gratitude


As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the musician Eric Bibb.  He is one of the great performers living today. He is a Grammy-nominated blues musician who despite his accomplishments may still be one of the best-kept secrets in music.

Eric’s guitar work and lyrics are incredible; however it’s something about his calm demeanor and uplifting spirit that makes him so successful connecting with audiences. Some of his best-known songs include “I Heard the Angels Singing” and “Shingle by Shingle.”

I had an opportunity to interview Eric over lunch in Japantown in San Francisco not too long ago.  [Later than night some friends and I saw Eric and Ruthie Foster play together at Yoshi’s and it was unreal.]

I knew before we met that he was a person with a inspiring and positive approach to life; you can tell just by the way he carries himself that behind the scenes he’s got some perspectives and practices that contribute to his quality of life.

My favorite part of our conversation was when Eric talked about gratitude:

“For me quality of life comes down to whether I am feeling peaceful, unanxious and grateful for the gift of life. Gratitude is the key to happiness I think. The ability to think, to be creative, to have senses that function, to be able to walk, to have freedom of movement. Those are tremendous blessings and sources of joy. Having enough to eat, having shelter, having companionship, having loving people around you; that’s paradise. Clean water, nutritious food, health, mobility; that’s paradise. I don’t think it’s so much a question of being happy or unhappy because each is part of the flow of life.”

Here are some of the other interesting perspectives and practices Eric shared that you might find interesting:

Mind:  Daily prayer

Perspective:  Realizing our connectedness with others

Health:  Yoga practice

Relationships:  Those that want to trip you up

Perspective:  Discovering your own path

Mind:  Thoughts matter

If you haven’t seen Eric Bibb perform, trust me it’s a great show…

Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Gil Gerstein

fQuality of life to me is living and loving consciously, embracing life’s experiences, making small yet attainable goals and enjoying all the little moments that life brings.

1.  Think Positive
I believe that people are inherently good, things are always getting better and all challenges can be turned into accomplishments. By embracing struggle as a learning experience, all events can be positive.

2.  Honor Thy Sleep
I take sleeping very seriously. I get about eight hours every night and much more on the weekends. It is so vital for our health and happiness yet so overlooked. It heals the mind, soul and the body. It keeps you young and happy. Respect pillow time and you will feel the difference.

3.  Find Your Soulmate

Being with the right partner is the best feeling in the world. I waited to find my true soul mate and she only came when I was ready and felt truly deserving. She enriches my life, gives me purpose and fills my days with serenity and love.

4.  Verbalize Gratitude

Being grateful is a wonderful quality but verbalizing gratitude has a much more powerful effect. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and when you express your gratitude towards others they often strive to attain even higher levels of the qualities you admire.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Sidney Harman Cites Death of a Salesman

Sidney Harman epitomizes the term “wise man.” When he was 25, he was way ahead of the game in terms of knowing what is important in life and how to make positive things happen. At 92, lets just say he knows a lot about life…

Dr. Harman is a warm, energetic, generous man who also happens to be one of the great businessman of our time. His best known company was Harman International which he ran since for decades, retiring as chairman in 2008. He was writing about the competitive advantage of corporate human development and the importance of company culture back in the 1980’s  — way ahead of the late 1990’s gurus. Dr. Harman is also one of those “under the radar” philanthropists who has done a whole lot to improve society.  

I got some great life perspectives from Dr. Harman during our interview. From how to play the longevity game to his exercise practice to advice on how to deal with difficult people.

But my favorite excerpt was Dr. Harman’s response to my question, “What type of people do you admire?”

He responded by citing a passage from Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and then making his point from there.  Click below link and look for audio player at top.

Sidney Harman Talks About the Type of People He Admires

When it comes down to it, I think we are all drawn to those people who are doers and don’t feel the need to showcase their successes to others.

But how perfectly did Sidney Harman put it?

Walt Whitman On Why Nature Brings Out Our Best

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.  It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

– Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road.”

This passage is from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  The poem is called “Song of the Open Road.”

Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Strong and content, I travel the open road.

The earth—that is sufficient;

I do not want the constellations any nearer;

I know they are very well where they are;

I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

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