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Debunking the glory of chasing Target

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure” a reflection made by British economist Charles Goodhart in 1975. Goodhart’s law thus teaches us many factors, which are as clear as crystal clear in the opening line :


A. Your drive to reach the target will overpower and dilute your entire mission or journey


B. When you are over stressing on reaching milestones then the underpinning thoughts become redundant


C. It is good to chase a milestone but you need to introspect on the value addition


Let me share with you an incident that happened during the British era in India. This was termed as Cobra effect. The heavy increase in the number of cobras in Delhi made the British administration worried. They announced a bounty for native Indians when they would bring dead cobras. The initial response to this announcement was effective, but, soon, intelligent business minds found their way to leverage the situation and they began to breed cobras to kill them and collect the bounty. Thus situation went out of control and, Delhi experienced sudden growth in the number of venomous snakes. British Government scrapped the bounty.


The same thing may happen to your personal life. When you are chasing a target like, “Read 10 books in a month”, “Losing 15 kgs. or lbs. in 60 days” and other ambitious stuff that has a direct impact on our self-development.


If I talk about reading 10 books in a month- we are talking about finishing a book every 3 days and one need to pick up a new book right after finishing up one. The learning-wisdom and thought trigger by books will never get the mind space that it deserves, but, on top of that, a new topic, a new book, and a new thought process will make an entry to your horizon of thought the moment you finish one book.


Now if this will keep happening, then in all probability you will lose the very essence of covering 10 books without adding great value to your reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. May be few ticks on your bucket list looks very good and fulfilling but, your mind lost the opportunity while your heart was chasing the milestone (read target) on a roller-coaster ride!



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