How You Measure Success Influences Your Decisions

How Countries Measure Their Success

For about the past 100 years, we’ve measured the success of countries’ economies based on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is ingrained in us as a world belief that this is the strongest metric to measure a country’s success and well being. This has been ingrained in us in our schools and how our societies talk about success. Success is closely linked to money both on a personal and national level.

In 2008 Bhutan finalized their democratic reform and established a new constitution. They determined to write in their constitution that they would measure their countries success with Gross National Happiness (GNH).

For those in office making decisions on the future of our country, if they are trying to raise GDP, they will look for short term gains, short cuts, and ways we can twist the system to squeeze another dollar out. If they are trying to raise GNH, they will look for long term payouts and ways they can elevate the population’s standard of living.

Other Ways People and Organizations Are Measuring Success

A fish farm in  the southwest corner of Spain, Veta La Palma, measures their success based on how well the local bird population is doing. If the birds are thriving, that means their farm is healthy and is giving back to the local ecosystem.

Companies like Patagonia measure their success based on the triple bottom line of people, profit, and planet. Instead of the conventional bottom line of only considering profit. If Patagonia can reduce their footprint and supply better working conditions for their employees while maintaining profit levels, they are experiencing success.

On a personal level, when do you feel successful? Is it how far you’ve progressed in your career? How many friends you have? The number of people you’ve made smile today? How much you love yourself? Or how big the number is in your bank account?

Depending on how you measure success personally, professionally, or systematically, the decision making process will be heavily influenced. Whatever you’re working on, clearly define what success means so you know what decisions will drive the most impact.

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