How does one grade a life? What does it mean to succeed at life?
What if you’ve already succeeded!
That was the opinion of the late Robert Nozick, former Harvard professor and past President of the American Philosophical Association.
Nozick suggested a novel way to grade one’s life based on a 100-point scale.
You get 50 points for just being alive, he said. Then you get 30 more points for being human, as opposed to being an oak tree or hippopotamus, for example.
So now you’re already up to 80 out of 100.
Then, he said, give yourself 10 more points if you’re basically able to function and get through the day, if you have some skill.
Now you’re up to 90 out of 100. And in many schools, I think that’s an A or A-.
Congratulations, you’re already getting at least an A- in life!
The last 10 points? Nozick said that’s for all the messes we get into and all the stuff we worry and stress about most of the time.
Nozick suggests that if we would spend a little more time thinking about and celebrating and appreciating what an amazing, incredible thing it is just to be alive and be human and able to function—then we might handle the other problems more effectively.
You’re alive. You’re human. You can function. That gives you a solid foundation and launching pad for everything you need to do and anything you want to do.