Self improvement and how you feel

24 02 2013

My cousin posted on facebook recently about the number of steps she took and it got me thinking about some things.  Mainly: who cares how many steps you took?  If you take 5000 steps a day and I take 2500, and I get compliments on my body all the time and you don’t, who comes out ahead?

In business it is common knowledge that “what gets measured gets done.”  Applying this thought to different measurements is very powerful.  For example, who cares how many clicks your ad got if revenues didn’t go up?  Who cares how many units you sold if you didn’t make enough money to break even?

So why not apply this common business knowledge to self improvement?

After some hard thinking the answer became obvious:  many people would rather feel good about what they’re doing than see actual results.  It’s very easy to look at a step counter and say it’s going up than to look in the mirror and say you’ve seen no improvement.  Why?  Because then you’d have to admit you were wrong.  Then you’d have to come up with a new idea on how to improve your body image.  Then you’d have to do some real work.

So remember: don’t measure self improvement by how you feel, measure it with objective results.

The great things in life can’t be measured, and that’s okay.  Who can say who is more enlightened than who?  More happy?  But that doesn’t matter unless you’re insecure and must compare everything you do with other people

Some other interesting things that get measured and are unimportant:

  • Anything to do with cars that isn’t gas mileage or cost/maintenance costs.  Oh it has 500 hp, but who cares if the speedlimit is 65 mph.  Oh it has a suspension twice as responsive as an economy car, but who cares if I drive in the city all the time.
  • Height – it’s pretty interesting how our society values height, when really it objectively doesn’t do anything for you unless you’re a wall painter or stock boy.  Beauty is similar: they are only valuable in that other people value them.  Beauty is valuable because you can make money as a model, actress, or trophy wife.  If it couldn’t be used for such, it would be meaningless.
  • CPU/graphics card power.  Can I play the same games as you with a cheaper computer?  Then I don’t care how fast your game is.
  • Calories – anyone who counts calories is a complete an utter moron, or completely and utterly ignorant.  The only reason to count calories is to gain weight or measure up for a prize fight.  Powerlifters force themselves to eat X protein calories a day to keep or increase muscle size.  No one that counts calories loses weight.  There are people that are thin and count calories to maintain, but what they do isn’t useful to someone trying to lose weight.  Much like someone watching how I study math wouldn’t succeed by copying me, since they wouldn’t be asian.
  • Times gone to gym, martial arts class, etc.  If you go to the gym 5x a week and I never go and I look better, you’re doing something wrong.  If you go to martial arts class and someone tha’ts gone half the time kicks your ass, you’re doing something wrong.  In terms of improvement, someone more effective will get further with less time. Of course if you go to those things to just burn off steam then it’s moot if someone is better than you.

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