Samy Ghannad

The Importance of Measuring the Right Metrics

I’ve been measuring my weight loss progress based on lost pounds.
I’ve been measuring my financial success based on my income.
I’ve been measuring my career success based on number of interviews and job offers I get.
I’ve been measuring my social media success based on number of followers.
I’ve been measuring my relationships health based on the time I spend with my friends and family.
And they all have ONE thing in common,
They are measuring the WRONG metric.\

Measuring the wrong metrics can be very dangerous, It may lead to going in the wrong direction to improve those wrong metrics, It may lead you to a wild chase with no end, It may cause you to get stuck in an endless loop, and the worse of them all,
It may lead you to give up on yourself, It may reinforce a deep and dark voice within ourselves that You’re not good enough, and you never will be.
I know nothing more dangerous than giving up on yourself.
How do I know that? Well, What do you say in English? Been there, Done that.
It’s a dark bottomless pit that I don’t want to even see my arch enemy (if I had one) down there.
The thing with metrics, right or wrong ones, is that we believe in them, We rarely question their authenticity, When was the last time you did a fact check on your metrics? Thought so.
We believe that they are right, and increase or decrease in their numbers shows exactly how one is performing in a specific direction, and we’re right to an extent, only if we do track the right ones.
How many times did you keep up with a metric, say lost pounds or increase in income, and yet you didn’t feel happy? You didn’t feel it’s enough rather you felt that you need to do more, be more, have more of it?
But why?
After all you have lived to the promise, right?
Most of the time,
You have failed not because you were not good enough,
You have failed not because you didn’t give it your all,
You have failed not because you didn’t see it coming,
You have failed not because you were lazy, or didn’t have self descipline,
The reason is so obvious that it can be hardly seen.\

Because You Were Tracking the Wrong Metrics.

I should have measured my body fat percentage instead of lost pounds which is influenced by a large amount of external factors, from water retention to alcohol consumption, or you’re body just going mad.
I should have measured my financial success by the ratio of my expense to my income, or by my total net worth, or by measuring the ratio of my liabilities to my assets, or my be all of them, not by a single meaningless number.
I should have measured my career success based on how many of the job offers I get are aligned with my values and beliefs instead of a mere number of how many job offers I get.
I should have measured my social media success by the ratio of comments, likes and most importantly, by the number of private messages I receive that thank me and tell me how I changed their lives rather than my number of followers, Would I consider my self successful if I had 10 million followers with no Thank you DMs instead of having 10 thousand followers who have sent me 2 thousand Thank you DMs ? I choose the latter, I want to be the latter, I LOVE the latter.
I should have measured my relationships health based on the joy I feel from the pleasant memories that come to my mind instantly instead of how many hours or days I spent with my family and friends. Quantifying such thing is just plain stupid.
So, I ask you, and I demand from my self, to review the authenticity our metrics once in a while.
Here are 3 golden questions to ask ourselves:\

1- Did I Choose this Metric Myself Or Am I Just a Blind Follower of a Herd?

We’re living in the world Herd Mentality rules.

Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis.

- Herd_mentality
There’s also a great read about herd mentality here by the fantstic author, Ramit Sethi.
People follow celebrities without thinking, Today a celebrity wears a ripped jean, Tomorrow stores are out of stock, this doesn’t mean I’m judging people based on what they’re wearing, I don’t, ripped jeans or not, I don’t really care, I’m merely pointing the fact that we tend to follow based on our emotions, We’re not, most of the time, intentional & deliberate when selecting our metrics, they are injected to us through so many vectors, from social media to social norms to our parents or teachers expectations.
I often ask myself, did I really choose to measure this specific metric, say income as an indicator of wealth, or formal education and degree as an indicator of possible future opportunities, or Am I simply following the herd?\

2- Is this specific thing I’m tracking as an indicator depends on external factors?

I rather choose to track metrics that are not dependent to external factors, because you know, they are external and I have no control over them, so how is it going to be a good indicator of progress when I have no influence or control over it? It can’t.
Examples of this type of metrics are:
Tracking your health based on number of McDonalds in you area.
Funny, Isn’t it? That’s not what you can control, it depends on supply and demand, nothing you can do about it really, it’s external.
Funny as it may be, I see most people choose similar metrics, although a bit disguised,
Number of Likes as a measure of being good enough,
Number of friends (read contacts) as an indicator for quality of your relationships,
And Number of visitors (or installations in case of mobile apps) as a sole measure of success.

3a- What Else Would I Track If I Couldn’t Track This One?

Another narration of this question would be\

3b- What Are Opposing People Suggest To Track Instead?

This question helps me to think outside the box and see the alternatives.
If I couldn’t or didn’t want to track this metric what else could I track instead?
Personally I benefited so much from the second narration by getting to know other points of views from different persons while it also helped me to avoid falling into the Confirmation Bias trap.
Highly recommended. ;)\

Thanks for reading,