What Gets Measured Gets Done

There are some really efficient people in this world, but I am not one of them. I am slow—at just about everything—and yet I want to be one of those people who gets a lot done.

I probably should not answer the “how am I doing at this life thing anyway?” question by counting tasks accomplished because the result will not be pretty. For other people, this approach might really work. Martha Stewart is probably a kick-ass list-item crosser-offer.

hummingbirdMy measurement system, on the other hand, needs to include such things as, did I notice the hummingbird hovering near the bottle brush tree? Did I taste my food rather than just gobble it down so I could go to the gym at lunch? Paying attention to these details makes me feel more alive and, as Howard Thurman says, “What the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Now you might say, doesn’t everyone want more hummingbirds in their life? If so, then the joy and peace quotient can only increase if people hang feeders and spend their evenings watching the little guys buzz each other.

But maybe not everyone is interested in hummingbirds. Not everyone wants to write—some people really enjoy being accountants. I am not making this up, though it is as incomprehensible to me as my voluntarily choosing to write a blog is to them.

Is it cheating to pick the indicators that will reveal we’re all doing a great job? Maybe, but would you choose an architect based on what kind of omelet he makes? No, so if you’re a born omelet-maker, why judge yourself on the kind of blueprints you draw just because the society you happen to live in thinks blueprint drawing is really cool?

It’s often hard to discern whether we’re omelet-makers, lawyers, or musicians, but if we measure our accomplishments in units of liveliness, we will head in the right direction.

4 thoughts on “What Gets Measured Gets Done

  1. So true and so hard to do in this society that values a select few accomplishments. Excellent post as usual! I love reading what you write every week.

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