The next quote from Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light is one that has proven to be hugely important for me recently. She wrote, “We can’t measure the value of our decisions based on outcomes.” This simple idea was true for Allison before she took her 50 state road trip, and over the course of her journey it held up. In my life this idea connects back to our American image of success, and the importance of money in determining success. Listening to a recent podcast, I can’t remember which podcast or who may have been the guest, the guest on the show said that we tend to make judgements about people and gage how successful of a person they are based on their income. He said that we do this not because it is the best metric of success, but because it is the easiest. Money he said is not always the right way to measure success, and wealth accumulation is not the best way to judge our value.
For Vesterfelt the quote represented the idea that we do not always have to make decisions on what actions we will take with an end goal in mind. For instance with this blog, I don’t have to worry about having followers and achieving any outcome, it is simply a place for me to reflect on what I have read, and process my thoughts as I revisit and write them. In my personal running, each run does not have to have a desired calorie burn level, and the end goal of running consistently does not have to be winning races. If I approach running as each day getting the opportunity to do something that feels good and that I enjoy doing, then in the end I will be more successful. Somehow this idea is easier to apply to the non-monetized aspects of our lives. I struggle daily with understanding the value of individuals, and seeing people as successful, even when their bank account, car, house, and clothes do not align with the American standard of wealth and success.