Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Measure of Men

Warning bit of a ramble..

We recently had some areas of our organization that went through some changes on how they were evaluated that has created a bit of a headache. It reminded me of this famous archaeologist that I remember hearing about in anthropology many years ago although the his name escapes me the story went something like this...

"He decided he wanted to motivate his team so he offered everyone on his team two bits for each piece of bone and pottery they brought him. As you can imagine everyone on his team began to break everything they found into smaller pieces to get more money."

Sitting in this meeting listening to the cluster fuck that we had just unleashed at work on found myself dwelling on one line, "You get what you measure for."

How profound! What in my life can I measure for to be happy? Does this apply to everything in life?

Relationships seem to be measured in time. We have been together x many years. I have known him for x many years, but missing is the quality in this equation. The only other measures of time I could think of was how long of a sentence did you get and how long have you been there(company) neither things I want as hallmarks to my life.
What if the next time someone asked me how long have you been together for and I said for 59 memories I will cherish and counting or I have woke up holding the woman I love x times.... I started to think how do you measure the quality so you know things are getting better or worse and even better is there something you can measure so that you will always be inspired to keep improving your relationships and fulfilling your life?

(An interesting aside is I started thinking about all my friends that I have know for 20+ years and if I added up the actual quality time that we have spent together it is probably more like I have known some of them for only three months...but I guess that is one of the watermarks of a good friend is that they are always back there no matter how much time has passed)

I started looking at examples..

If life is measured by how much money one makes? Does that lead one to make more money...yes since that is the primary pursuit but does that make one happy?

If a life is measured by how many women you sleep with? or how many drinks you can have do you turn into a drunken whore? Maybe?

What would happen if one started to measure ones life differently?

What can I measure in my life that will lead me to not waste any precious time? That will lead me to happiness beyond just a tangent material illusion of it?

I have started to work on a calculation actually a couple of them that I am hoping will lead to a better life. (They are still in the rough phase mind you)

First one I will call my general measurement. When I am happiest in life it is because of a few things.

1.) I learned or tried something new. So what if I made it my goal to learn at least one new thing everyday, vary my routine in some way everyday and to try something new everyday. And turned this into a metric everyday I do all three I get one point
I divide this over 365 for the number of days and get a ratio that I can monitor. (This can also help me cope with negative behaviors because they are to be viewed as new experiences and variations of routine not as an inconvenience)

2.) Relationships - What do I like about them? Being able to talk to someone openly, kiss, touch, sex, having someone there to help you and share with you, little thoughtful gestures...what if everyday at least one of those things happen you mark a point down and then divided it by 365 again you would have a ratio you could monitor how your relationships are doing and if you are improving or not...you could even subtract points for negative behavior.

3.)Even I can't escape this one - Financial - I need to include this because lately this has been a source of stress that is effecting the other two. It is also necessary to help the other two...for this I am going to stick with net worth I think one of the best overall indicators of financial health. I will use this as a tracking indicator for year to year.(Hopefully I will be trending back into the black this year.)

I would say for me these three indicators need to move in tandem in an upwards direction in order for me to be happy. I am going to actually start keeping track of these starting today and see how it goes...I will keep you posted.

How do you measure your life? How do you know if it is getting better or worse?


Thomas said...

I tend to measure success in my life by how much positivity I bring to those around me. Today, a coworker was talking about how her back acts up a lot. She doesn't wish to go to a chiropractor or doctor to get it checked out. So I said, "Oh well. You know what they say. What doesn't kill you..." I just tend to look at the upside in any situation (except maybe for Dubya's time in office. I can't really think of any good that has come from that).

If you have happiness within, then it is easier to give it to others. For me to have that peace, I need time to just be alone, to reflect, to breathe (a bath a few times a week is great for this, at least for me). But it really is the simple things. Spending time with my cat and dog (not to mention my wife) is so much more rewarding than buying more "things" or stewing over perceived slights that I may have received from others.

Say Rah! said...

gut feeling. either i'm happy, or i'm not. i dunno. strangely, i'm as happy as i've been in recent years, when arguably, by all standard measures, my life is pretty sucky right now.

Rocketstar said...

"I said for 59 memories I will cherish and counting or I have woke up holding the woman I love x times.... "

---I love it, great point

"...make more money...yes since that is the primary pursuit but does that make one happy?"
--- Not necessarily, but it does create opportunity

"How do you measure your life? How do you know if it is getting better or worse? "
---- I always say it comes down to your happiness and the happiness of your loved ones. Our time is short here on this little blue dot, not being content is a waste of time. Like you, give me thought, loved ones and money, what else do you need?

Megan said...

Yes indeedy SayRah! You hit it right on the nose...happieness is not about measurement or comparison or standards or any of that mumbo jumbo - it is a feeling that you can create for yourself if you choose to focus on that which brings you joy and contentment - just like you said "my life is pretty sucky right now" yes it may be "by all standard measures", but what does that mean to you exactly? - nothing really the way I look at it.... you say "strangely, I'm as happy as I've been in recent years" I wonder how strange it is in fact - I personally think it's just wonderful and quite normal that you've found happieness in your life! Who is to say really that it is just through measurement and volume that we can determine what makes us happy or successfull? If we choose not to focus on the negative, or what's lacking etc., we choose the opposite and welcome it openly... I read something recently about Mother Theresa having once said that if you were to invite her to an anti-war rally she would not attend, but were you to invite here to a pro-peace rally she would gladly accept. I beleive that everyone of us can choose happieness for ourselves - it is in fact not a destination, but a journey - no room for rulers and scales only enough space for you to decide what it is you want for yourself and to go and get it!

Dem Soldier said...

I live satisfied that my enemies know I am right! Lol.

Joking aside, I measure success in looking where I'm and where I started at, in family, friends, wealth, love, education, and as U have wrote they all really go together. I'm at peace with myself, and where I'm heading.