Life lessons from Clayton Christensen

Some Mormons  teach music to high school students. Some work as career counselors.  And some are in the process of revolutionizing the health care industry. Well, at least one of them is.

Clayton Christensen Forbes cover

Clayton Christensen talks about healt care and his faith

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen’s work on health care is featured on the cover of the newest edition of Forbes Magazine. The story paints a picture of a man of great accomplishment. But it also touches on his family relationships and explains what a big part his Mormon faith plays in his life.

I’ve gotten to interact with Clayton as part of my volunteer work for our church. What impresses me most is how approachable and warm he is. The Forbes article describes how he is extremely careful about how he uses his time. And yet when I once asked him for some suggestions about sharing God’s message of love with others, it seemed like he had all the time in the world to help me out. I greatly admire his talent to focus on those around him.

In my work as a scientist, I often find myself faced with intense time pressures. Like many of us, I struggle to find the right balance between work, family, and service in the church and in the community. Having gotten to know Clayton has helped me in two ways. First, his example of serving others inspires me. But perhaps even more importantly, I have benefited from hearing him comment on his struggle to balance his different responsibilities. If he is still learning and yet has done so much good, maybe I should be patient with myself  and trust that God will gradually teach me how to best use my time.

I would be interested to hear your perspective on time management. How do you choose how much time to spend at work, with the family, or serving others?

6 thoughts on “Life lessons from Clayton Christensen

  1. fishiefishies

    I’ve long had a policy that I will move heaven and earth if necessary to hear Clayton Christensen speak–he really is that good. And not only that, but as Teppo says, he’s genuinely nice to a degree I’ve only seen in a handful of people. I think he embodies the best of what Mormonism and Christianity have to offer–razor-sharp intellect (he’s pretty much the antithesis of “blind faith”), help on a global scale (Christensen advises not only huge multi-national companies but governments), deeply caring concern about individuals (despite everything going on in his life he recently asked me about a personal matter I had struggled with several weeks before), and a humility that to me is not only his most prominent characteristic but, given his accomplishments, his most surprising. His efforts show the way that Christianity would operate in an ideal world, and that it’s possible to live a Christlike life even in the (frequently suboptimal) here and now.

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  4. Melanie1

    Clayton Christensen is a man I admire very much and feel so blessed to know. Time management is something I struggle with all the time. It’s hard for me to find a perfect balance between work, play, and religion. I have found that when I put God first, I always have time to do everything I want to do. Every day is a struggle to do this though.

  5. Tim

    Did you know that he told Forbes that he would only be willing to be on the cover of their extremely popular magazine (something most business people would give their arm and both legs for) if they promised to discuss his church frequently and often? It seems like most people in his position have spent their entire lives working toward their success in the business/academic world. Nothing else matters to them. However, with Mr. Christensen, as is evidenced by his conditions to Forbes, clearly his entire life has been spent devoted to and constantly working at building up his faith, and everything else he’s attained has, for him, been on the side. How much more impressive are his achievements knowing that his personal life-work is actually his faith and his success at bringing others to believe what he believes?

  6. jason daily

    Regarding how much time I spend at work. I Work on comission as a route salesperson so I work and sell as much as i can as fast as I can. My work model dictates that if you want to make more money you need to work hours. My personal max is 12 hours/day, 5 days/week. 60 hours/week max. any more than that is just physically too much. The D.O.T. maxes me out at 14 hrs/day. I’m always trying to figure out how to be more efficient and work less hours.
    Regarding family, I spend as much time with my family as i can whenever we have gatherings. I also spend a lot of time online visiting with my fiance’ until we can be together in person.
    When it comes to serving others I do what I can with the time I have left after working. I try to spend all day on sunday the sabbath serving others. I love the sabbath and worshipping, learning and serving others.

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