The KPIs of Life

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We were talking about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) today at work, and this lead me to think, if our daily lives had KPIs, what would they be, and how well would we score at each of them?

For those of you who have no idea what KPIs are, here's a textbook definition straight from wikipedia:

performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement.[1] An organization may use KPIs to evaluate its success, or to evaluate the success of a particular activity in which it is engaged. Sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals,[2] but often success is simply the repeated, periodic achievement of some level of operational goal (e.g. zero defects, 10/10 customer satisfaction, etc.).

What this basically means is that a KPI is something that you use to measure, compare and rate your performance, usually across several periods.

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Granted that it may be different from each individual, as every one of us has a list and order of priorities that are important to us. Some people might put family first, some work, some hobbies and other passion. Here's a list of KPIs that the average human would have:

1. How much money have I earned this year?

2. How many competitors have I beaten this year? (Be it in business, romance or even physical competitions)

3. Did I get an increment or promotion at work?

4. Is my family more well-off than they were previously?

5. How many women did I manage to get with?

Yes, these KPIs may help you to measure how successful [in your own terms] you are in life, however, life is much more than just aiming to be successful. Yes, to a certain extent, the world does run on money, and having more of it usually helps to make for a more comfortable life. But I believe that the satisfaction attained from attaining more money decreases exponentially as your earnings increase.

Yes, at first a jump from a $1,000 salary to a $2,000 salary would mean the world to anyone. Let's assume the satisfaction attained from this increase of $1,000 as a score of 80/100.

Next, when you get your next increment from $2,000 to $3,000, I'm sure that most of you would agree with me when I say that the satisfaction attained would only be around 75/100. Not as satisfying as your first increment, even though the amount is exactly the same.

And when you go from $3,000 to $4,000, more likely than not, the satisfaction will stay around the same level of 75/100 or may even be lower than that.

This trend of 70-80/100 satisfaction rate would be likely to continue until you reach somewhere around the amount of $8,000 - $10,000. From here on, things start to deteriorate. An increment from $10,000 to $13,000 would only give you a satisfaction of around 50-60/100. Although it is actually 3 times the amount, as your very first increment, you don't even get the same satisfaction as you did way back during the first increment.

And the reason is simple. It's because you are already living in comfort with the amount that you are currently earning. Getting a new Nike T-Shirt when you were earning $1,000 would have granted you much more happiness than adding another Prada bag to your collection of 299.

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And this is what I call the Income Tipping Point. Everyone has a different Tipping Point depending on their lifestyle and dreams, but the fact is everyone WILL have a Tipping Point. And once they have reached this Tipping Point, earning anything more would just be another coin in the pocket, with little or no satisfaction whatsoever.

That's why I feel that financial gains should not be on the list of life KPIs. The KPIs of life should only include the things that can provide a consistent amount of satisfaction no matter how much of it you have already achieved previously. And these things are usually of non-material, intangible value.

1. How much have your actions improved the lives of others?

2. How many people have you made happier?

3. How many times have you challenged yourself to be better at something?

4. How many new learning experiences have you had?

5. How much money have you saved? [Without being a miser]

These are my 5 personal KPIs of life. I get satisfaction from learning and becoming better person. This feeling of self-satisfaction feels 100 times better than the satisfaction that 10 million dollars can give.

The secret is to be content with whatever you currently have, but at the same time, always looking for chances to improve on it.

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A wise tortoise once said: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why it is called the 'present'."

At the same time, 3 Idiots once told me something that I believe is oh so true:

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