The Daily Balance Sheet
The Daily Account of Fulfilment v Regrets
One thing I’ve started to fit into my routine is this new practice of keeping a “daily balance sheet.” In line with the idea of treating your life like a business, a daily balance sheet is a daily statement you keep to account for your losses and gains. You can define your losses and gains as whatever you’d like; I have mine set as follows:
Fulfilment equals profits, and
Regret equals losses.
I remember about my balance sheet with a little reminder I have on my phone. Every night, at 9pm, my phone nudges me to keep track of this balance sheet. I go through my entire day and ask myself three simple questions:
What was the most important time of the day?
Who was the most important person of the day?
What was the most important activity of the day?
These questions are inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s story The Three Questions. I like these questions because they have black-and-white answers, not generic stuff you’d get from most life advice blogs.
Every night, I think if I am able to answer these questions properly. If I can identify the most important time, person, and activity of the day, I can quickly evaluate whether I was fulfilled or had some regrets that day.
Note that I don’t have any numbers or rigorous data-driven methods to fill out this daily balance sheet; it’s really a snapshot of how I feel that day.
The simple reason I do this is because what’s measured only improves. Tracking anything is likely to improve that thing. And since I’m always game for improving and getting better at everything, I thought, how about I try getting better at my self-awareness and my happiness quotient.
I won’t worry too much about this system, but every now and then I feel like it, I’ll keep track of my balance sheet, because, well, running your life as a business is way better than running your life as your life.
Until next time,
Videos of the week
The Second Brain with Roam, Notion, and my Mac
I also absolutely recommend this fantabulous series I found on AppleTV+. It’s by far the best TV series I have ever watched. It’s a transformational, soul-stirring show of how people live in harmony with nature.
Here’s the trailer:
Podcasts of the week
Why Ali folded 1000 Origami cranes
A few weeks ago, Ali finished his project of folding 1000 origami cranes. Why’d he do it? What’d he learn? Was it worth it? Forget all the paperwork and see how it all unfolds on Spotify, Apple, or Google.
The Missing Gold Coin
Our Commonplace Book
A Podcast I’d recommend
If there’s one podcast I’d absolutely recommend to you, it’s this Tim Ferriss podcast, in which Alain De Botton, a modern-day philosopher, talks about the books he loves. The podcast has some meaningful insights about family, life, and parenting. A few of them:
Being a "good enough" daughter/sibling/husband/wife/parent/friend is better than being a good one.
Children have a true sense of self, but when we try to discipline them, we invoke a false sense of self in them.
Talking of Schopanhauer, the greatest pessimist of all times, Botton humorously (and suppressing his sarcasm) quotes Schopanhauer that no one is happy in life for more than 5 minutes… He also notes that you should laugh defiantly at despair, because life will always have despair, sorrow, and grief in it… Things almost always won't work out the way you want them to, and so, laughing at despair is a way to still rejoice. 😆
Schopanhauer conforms to Buddha, saying that "the world is a place of sorrow." (However, Schopanhauer may not have shown you a way out of sorrow, as Buddha did.)
I highly recommend listening to this one, even though I don't usually listen to podcasts. Start at 3:45 mins, to skip ads.