Life Equations

One day Junior year, I settled into third period study hall at the library and grabbed the Journal. An unexpected gem of an article presented itself in that right column and made my otherwise unspectacular  year a complete success. One simple article changed my life, my thinking and my approach. In short, the point of the article was simple:

By virtue of living, you are nearly guaranteed to leave an inheritance – even if just a nickel. But, more importantly, what will be your legacy?

I’ve been trying to leave a legacy ever since. This simple question sparked a twenty-five year fascination with the idea of legacy, of success – of a life well-lived.

Senior Thesis

As a Senior in high school, I only seriously considered one thesis topic: “What is success?” As I’ve pursued studying this idea for over twenty-five years, the question has evolved into subtle, related queries:

  • What is success?
  • What is performance?
  • What is purpose/passion?
  • What is fulfillment?

In each of these questions, the pursuit of life is undeniably personal. There are moral boundaries, social acceptances and outside influences, but each person’s rational answer will be different. To me, this creates an extraordinary opportunity in life. We aren’t all chasing the same thing. This allows us to collaborate in such creative and generous ways. Indeed, diversity creates enormous strength.

No matter the variant of the question, you and you alone determine your life. Some people sadly never realize that fact. They say, “you only live once,” but the sad truth is that for some people, “you only die once” because you never start living. Moving through life blowing like a leaf in the wind wondering why life isn’t handing over success in heaping spoonfuls. Don’t do that. It doesn’t work.

Understanding “The Truth”

For the past two and a half years, I’ve been writing a book about success and personal performance; it’s really about living a fulfilled life. Your life; your way. We can all define what we want out of the world differently. But, what I’ve become really committed to is the underlying social construct in pursuing life. I call the following construct, “The Truth.” It’s just a given pre-requisite for pursuing a fulfilled life.

  • | Love | (absolute value)
  • Trust^e (execution exponentially increases trust)
  • Transformation > Transactions
  • Values ≅ Vision (congruence)
  • Purpose > Passion
  • Intention, Reality (intention comes before reality)
  • Time > Money
  • Collaboration > Conflict
  • Kindness > Indifference
  • Vector^t (trust exponentially increases vector; vector is magnitude and direction)
  • Remarkable > Boring
  • Cheerful > Angry
  • Relationships > Solo
  • Humility > Ego
  • Performance*r (self-renewal multiplies performance)


If we agree to use “The Truth” as our social operating system, consider these life equations:

Business Success

Business Success = ((Clarity + Accountability)*(risk taking))^execution

The foundation of success is found in the clarity of purpose, systems and process within a highly accountable organization. These efforts are multiplied when the organization is willing to take smart risks. And, the combination becomes exponential to the level of execution.


I pinged my equation for fulfillment to my really smart neighbor, Rob Grey. He delivered a handwritten napkin back to me:

Satisfaction = Reality – Expectations

I agree with him. Smart lad that Rob.


(Investment + Strategy)^Execution = Outperformance

A company with poor investment and strategy will outperform a company with great strategy and investment if they out-execute them. Execution seriously levels up.


Choice + Control + Change = Confidence

Ever wonder where confidence comes from? Simple: Knowing that life is a choice you make, you are in control and you are responsible to crate the change you want to see. Start taking extreme ownership within this lens and confidence explodes.

Fulfillment Equation

Intention + Execution = Fulfillment

In all my work surrounding success and performance, I have come to see fulfillment as the highest journey and pursuit. Fulfillment lifts you up, swells your chest. It is the genesis of joy inside. Fulfillment is unstoppable. To that end, The Book of Joy is the one book every person on earth should read.

So, what’s the equation explanation? Intention surrounds your vision, values and approach and execution is the alignment of actions while pursuing your intentions. It creates a peaceful harmony inside you.

Consider the opposite: a non-intentional life leads to consistent disillusionment. You’re never “getting what you want” because you’ve never set out to pursue anything meaningful to you. And, when we take action in conflict with our vision and values there is a hollow pit in the stomach. We know we missed the mark and feel guilty or conflicted. We need both sides of the equation for fulfillment.

Do you have any other equations that guide your life?


Photo by Kamil Pietrzak on Unsplash

Random Quote

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

— H Jackson Brown

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