Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Alternate Reality Score

The Alternate Reality Score is something I just invented. It is a number from 0 to 100 that represents how successful (or lucky) you feel that you have been to date with your decisions of how to steer your life.
The premise is that there are billions of different lives you could potentially have today, assuming different things had happened in your past. To help visualize this concept, think of your life as a tree, and think of your current life as the very tip of a small branch. At the base of the tree are decisions you made about what school to attend, who to marry, what career, etc. There are also branches for events that life thrust upon you (although those are mostly outside the scope of this exercise).

To determine your score, imagine every possible branch your life could have taken. Of these billions of possibilities for where your life could be right now, take a guess as to what percentage of them are "worse" than your current life. The best score you can get is 100, worst is zero. For example, someone like Maurice Clarett might give himself a score of 5 and someone like Dakota Fanning might give herself a score of 95. It is rather subjective, but try to be honest with yourself. You can define "worse" however you like. I choose to define it as being generally less happy on a regular basis.
An interesting way to continue the exercise, after you determine your score, is to try to isolate the handful of decisions that had the greatest role in determining your score. For one person, it might be breaking up with a high school sweetheart. For another, maybe a decision to get behind the wheel after drinking. Maybe having an extra child. Or not having one. It will be different for everyone.

Now complete your journey by thinking if maybe there are 1 or 2 things you could do this year that would have a lot of upside, which might have a good chance of increasing your score when you look back 5-10 years from now.


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