Doing What’s Important, Not What’s Measured
While at the gym this morning I started observing, unobtrusively, the macho men working out around me. This was the late morning crew so these are guys who, I presume, have the time to train regularly as opposed to 9-5-lifers who do their best to fit the gym around work and fail. One incontestable fact about the guys with me in the gym was their muscled torsos were in stark contrast to their reed legs. And when these he-men looked at themselves in the mirror (as we all do but never seeing what’s really there) their legs obviously didn’t exist. That got me thinking about how what gets measured gets done. Or to put it backwards what gets done gets measured. Just what do you measure in the legs? But it’s easy to measure chest size and biceps bulge and how many packs are visible in the abdomen area.
We tend to measure, not what is important and needs to be done, but what is easily measured. A trifling example: many and possibly most societies rank more highly the money a person makes than the person making the money. We count how many cars or homes they have, how much gold they wear, the cost of sending their kids to “that school” etc. We look at all that and say “Wow!” Since we can’t measure a person’s dignity or integrity or goodness we don’t, and like the proverbial blue bolt out of nowhere, we express mock surprise at epic ethical failures in politics or business or amongst our friends. We see this a lot in the hip-hop world where rappers mouth of on how much money they have, how many millions they can print just by spouting ‘bitches’ and ‘hos’. These rag-tag boasters (Kanye, Jay-Z, Puffy-Piffy-whatever, 2Chainz, Rick “the slob” Ross et al) serve as prominent role models for black youth (at least in America). Epic fail. We must do better.