Standing In the Middle
For over 10 years now, my professional email has ended with this quote
“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” – Galileo Galilei
I’m a computer geek by trade, and this suits my job description nicely. A large part of what I do hinges on my ability to find small bits of data, combine them so that they are less like a stack of numbers and more like information or insight; and finally to deliver that information to the right places so that it drives some kind of action.
So I was caught short when a co-worker sent me this counter-quote:
“Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts.” – Albert Einstein
Equally valid, and equally applicable to my job. Not only does it entail finding bits of data, but knowing which ones are meaningful, and which are red herrings.
I realized I had stumbled upon the Information Technology version of an old Rabbinic idea: that you should keep two pieces of paper in your pockets. One reads
“For my sake the world was created“
…and the other:
“I am naught but dust and ashes“
Then you should take them out, read them, and take the message to heart – one note or the other as the situation dictates.
I’ve updated my personal email to use the Einstein quote. It’s a good reminder of who I “am” as I communicate with the outside world, and that my work may have it’s priorities but those aren’t the only priorities I have.
As the Rabbis knew long ago, it’s all about finding a point of balance.