• joshua chamberlain

check the scoreboard

I read yesterday that Trump wants to kick 200,000 people off Social Security before leaving office. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it made me think.

It seems in our political moment, our two parties can't agree on a metric to measure success. Democrats measure people benefiting from social services and Republicans measure tax dollars returned to voters. There are certainly other metrics, many of which are inherently problematic (such as people kicked off Social Security), but these two are just the first two that came to mind.

It reminds me of the episode of The Office where Michael hosts a competition among the employees. When he asks Pam who's winning, she responds, "At various times you gave Jim 10 points, Dwight a gold star, and Stanley a thumbs-up. And I don't really know how to compare those units."

This perfectly encapsulates the point.

For the longest time, we measured success based on dollars earned. Now, we measure likes, retweets, followers, subscribers, and page views. To my mind, most of these things are meaningless, and yet we base so much of our culture on these arbitrary statistics. We don't have a metric for measuring the depth of impact on an individual or the ways in which your words can change someone's life.

If you ask me, we all need to not only make sure our definitions of success align, but construct those definitions within the context of humanity. While it's certainly true no one wins when everyone is playing a different game, it's also true that success does not need to be a zero-sum game.

There's a seat at the table for everyone.

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©2018 by joshua chamberlain |  photos by gabrielle boltz of gabriell.e.lizabeth studios | created with Wix.com