The Subjective Theory of Measures

Humans measure everything:

Blue Ruler measurement ticks

People created and defined measurements. Unfortunately, humans are fairly lousy at defining and explaining.

A History of Wrong

“You can set your watch to it” means different things throughout history. Your watch could be several minutes off to 1 second every billion years off.

Sciences and its methods have changed rapidly. Even recently, scientists are finally labeling a 79th organ they’ve known about since Leonardo DaVinci.

Scientists have been wrong in every field since science was science. That’s science!

Measurements Mixed with Parameters

I have found science to be terrible at measuring with additional and varying parameters. All our measurements would be listed as ranges instead of direct points.

Could you imagine physics or math class with every answer needing a range instead of an empirical point? We’d have worse graduation rates than we already have.

For example, the Speed of Light is 299,792,458m/s in a perfect vacuum (one parameter), traveling on the spinning earth (another parameter), circling the sun (parameter 3), spinning in the Milky Way Galaxy (parameter 4), traveling apart from other galaxy’s (that’s 5), to find a constant against the cosmic microwave background (number 6).

If you add those parameters with our current measurement of the speed of light, you are left with nothing but variability.

Every measurement is subject to relativity:

  • Time with speed
  • Color with speed (red shift)
  • Emotions / Incentives with individual history
  • Pain with state of mind
  • Distance on planes of measurement
  • etc.

The neat thing is you have the decision to apply parameters or not. You can accept things in relativity.

The Happiness Advantage

If you haven’t read The Happiness Advantage, you’re missing out. The book is simply about thinking in happiness and gaining the rewards. For a taste of the book and the voice of its author, Shawn Achor, watch his Ted Talk.

Happiness can be measured subjectively (it’s one of those words we have to use the word ‘less’ rather than ‘fewer’). You can change the subjective nature of the measurement easily.

Add Parameters to Change Your Happiness

Think of the happiest time in your life. Now think of yourself now. Are you happy?

I primed you a little bit. You will be less happy, even slightly, than your natural value. To reverse, you could have thought about all those horrible embarrassments in your teens.

All you had to do was add a parameter to change the subjectivity of your happiness. There are more changes you can make, from playing sports or watching a scary movie just before assessing happiness (endorphin rush) to simply holding a pencil in your mouth sideways (forced smile priming).

You have the choice to be happy. You can influence yourself and others.

Happiness is not the only measurement up for grabs.

Other Measures: Self-Worth, Progression, Initiative, Grit, etc.

You can measure yourself and find yourself overachieving or wanting. We do this in everyday life measurements.

My son is wicked smart, but can’t pass the GED (he’s 6 years old and doing 4th-grade work). My wife is a clean freak but doesn’t clean bathrooms. I am a short guy at 6’3″, compared to average NBA players.

You can continue comparing and contrasting yourself in the most complex measurements, like self-worth and grit.

The best part is you don’t have to look to others for comparison. You can measure with your own set of tools.

Conclusion: tl;dr

Humans are terrible at measuring anything. We keep changing the formulas, procedures, or parameters.

Change your perspective to include happiness and reap the rewards. The only time it’s worth thinking negatively is probably during and against an exam.

You don’t have to accept measurements from others. You can add your own parameters and add priming to be a person you find worthy.