Once again the Harvard Business Review blog picks up on an idea I talk about in my book. Yesterday I mentioned Tony Schwartz's writing on vacations and productivity; today, I saw H. James Wilson's post, Don't Live Your Life, Lead It."
Wilson argues that the verb "'lead'... signifies a more advanced, even noble, way of being in the world of business and beyond." He gives three reasons for this, two of which I'll briefly pull out here:
Leading life is a prerequisite of personal and professional growth. When we lead our lives, we set a vision and intentionally resolve to advance from a lower state to a higher state. We are not resigning to live life as it is….
Those that lead lives use technology as a new lens for self-examination. You can live life using technology to shop, to entertain, to become a virtual friend or follower. You'll create a lot of personal data along the way…. But what about also using technology to examine yourself, as a way to intentionally generate personal data for private reflection? This is a fundamentally new question that those leading a life are beginning to ask….
Of course, technology isn't the only route to self-awareness, though it can give a boost to introspection.
I would agree wholeheartedly with this, and add one thing: that the process of self-experimentation doesn't just create useful data, it can also make you more thoughtful about how you use your technologies. Given how much of our working lives now either directly involves using technology (unless you're the most unskilled manual laborer) or is augmented by or mediated through technology (if you're any sort of knowledge worker or professional), understanding how technologies affect the way you work, and how you can change your relationship with them to improve your work, is pretty critical.