False Metrics

Every year, when Forbes releases their Top 50 Richest people, you bet there’ll be some very unhappy billionaires jumping up and down. These are people that have enough money so their family wouldn’t go hungry, for generations.

Or take an Olympian from the 1970s, transport him back today and competed, he would lose every race. If he went to bed thinking that he is greatest, he’s not that great, is he? He was just great against those people, that day.

All the metrics are made up. And you get to choose yours.

Followers, views counts, companies sold, books read or a ranking on a list.

If you are already at 12% body fat, pain-free, feeling energised, what difference does lowering another percent of body fat make?

Or what difference does another hundred likes on the next post make? Does it mean that these people like you? Would you call on them if you’re in trouble? Are they really your friends?

Or what difference does another million subscribers make for your channel? It’s a metric if you want it. But that’s not why you made your video. You made it to teach something, to change someone, or to dance at the edge failure. That’s hard to measure.

Yes, metrics have a place. In the industrial age, a better machine is one that is more productive. It’s 100% about measurement, effort is irrelevant. But are you a cog in a machine? Are you in a race to the bottom? Faster, better and cheaper.

What we’re learning is that there is a point. And after this point, it’s simply a story. A narrative to satisfy our short-term need to feel that we are winning. And what we really care about, deep down, that might be hard to measure. Are you proud of the work that you do? Have you contributed someone’s day? How do you feel about your day?

It takes guts, to think about the race, and what the purpose of the race is, and what we’re keeping score of.

Just because something is easy to measure, doesn’t mean it’s important.

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