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Cut Twice, Measure Once

Cut Twice, Measure Once

“If you can’t measure it, it’s not worth doing.”

That’s an example of pseudo-profundity which we find all over the internet, especially on Facebook and LinkedIn. And it’s pretty inaccurate. (It seems to be in the repertoire of every poor speaker I’ve ever heard.)

It’s tough to measure beauty, aesthetics, happiness, comfort, safety. Oh, we can say that a chair is comfortable, but what’s the measure compared to another chair? How long should we take comparing chairs?

There’s always a bigger boat (TIAABB).

I feel safe on a plane (or I wouldn’t be flying). But how safe? How would I know whether I’m less safe than normal? Should I not fly in the rain?

We need to rely on our good judgment and trust ourselves. A lot of things are worth doing that you can’t measure. This blog is one of many examples. I enjoy writing here. I’m not measuring its “success” except that if I didn’t enjoy doing it, I’d stop.

Just as I’ve stopped listening to empty bromides.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 2

  • Duke Merhavy

    May 22, 2022

    Halleluiah! I thought I was the only crazy one!

    There are several things I do for my clients and improve their ‘condition’ (mostly marketing stuff)that are either hard to measure empirically or just not worth the resources, even though with “good judgement” can be easily observed. I have been struggling with telling that to people because I truly thought that I was the only one thinking it. Your examples are spot-on.

    What a relief 🙂 I am not the only crazy one… there are at least two of us. OK — I’ll consider myself ‘Contrarian Junior’.

    Thanks Alan!

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