What’s your SQL-index? [Sustainable Quality of Life]

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No, I’m not talking about databases (SQL is a language used by programmers to fetch data.) I’m talking about Sustainable Quality of Life and how much of your income is coming from a meaningful, fun and qualitatively sustainable income. That’s the SQL-index.

Sustainable – as in, I can do this until I’m way past my retirement age. I can do this because it’s rewarding, meaningful and fun. Not work because I have to – work because I want to.

Sustainable – as in balanced. I have time to spend with my family and friends. With people who matter.

But also sustainable in an ethical sense. I’m adding value to society. I’m making the world a better place.

Listen to this TED-talk by Jane McConigal. At about 10 minutes in there’s a great quote. She says:

“We are optimized as human beings to do hard, meaningful work.”

Think about that for a second. It’s true – isn’t it? Hard work is the most rewarding activity you can do – if it’s meaningful! If it brings true value to yourself, your family, friends and society at large. Why spend your life doing anything else?

Making money is (relatively) easy. If you’re reasonably bright, strong or talented it’s basically just a question of quantity. Work a lot – make a lot of money.

The truly difficult part is doing it and keeping your SQL-index high at the same time. Making money and having fun and making meaning at the same time.

There’s actually a shortcut to achieve this: passive income – making money while you’re sleeping. But still, you have to produce something that generates the passive income and the optimal way to do this is while keeping the SQL-index high (because then you can produce a lot of it).

Don’t measure your life in the number of gadgets you have or the size of your bank account or the fanciness of the brand of your car. Those are just external attributes. Measure your SQL. That’s what matters.

Update: someone who decided to raise their SQL-index:

“I concluded that I’d rather live poor and hungry than work in a large, bureaucratic and political environment where I personally couldn’t see how my efforts created value.” – Bryan Johnson

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