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The Power in What We Cannot Measure

Recently I was watching a talk given by Peter Sellars, an American Theater Director.  He was talking about the importance of financing the arts.   I love it when things completely unrelated to my field jump out and inspire me!

 “Does your grandmother love you?  You can’t measure that. And it’s all the things that cannot be measured that are the most important things in your life”–Peter Sellars

I have been thinking about that quote a lot recently. In our quest to be live happier, reach goals, be inspired, and strive for perfection we look for ways to measure our success.  Whether it be the number of years married, a nice car, big house or the grades our children receive, we all have standards of measurement that we keep tally of in our head.  Maybe we share these measurements with other people, maybe we don’t.  Regardless we are all walking around seeing if we ‘stack up’ to the standards we have set in our heads.

At the end of our lives, will those standards or measurements, matter?  Will it matter how much money we made, how many degrees we have, how many houses we own or miles we can run?  No, what matters is: do our children respect us, did we love deeply, were we leaving people happier after they interacted with us?

Goals are a wonderful tool.  As you know I am a big believer that having goals helps us live happier.  We all need something we are working towards.  And logically the only way to know if we accomplished a goal is if we can measure it.  Yes, having goals and accomplishing them are keys to happiness.  AND we also need to remember life is a balance.

So from time to time we need to regroup, refocus and make sure we aren’t losing sight of the things in our life that we can’t measure–the love we receive from our friends/family, the joy we get from watching our children play, the thrill of having a day  to sleep in, the sadness that comes from losing a pet.  It is in these little every day, unmeasurable items that we find happiness, joy, purpose and meaning.

The key is recognizing that from time to time we need to step off the treadmill of life, stop asking ourselves if we have accomplished enough and embrace the immeasurable bounty we have in our lives.

What are some of the immeasurable blessings you have in your life?

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