Do we value what works more than we value what matters?
Peter Block has me thinking about that. In The Answer to How is Yes he writes:
“The phrase ‘what matters’ is shorthand for our capacity to dream, to reclaim our freedom, to be idealistic, and to give our lives to those things which are vague, hard to measure, and invisible.”
We’re so scared by things that are “vague, hard to measure, and invisible,” aren’t we? But that’s where real learning happens. I mean how much of what you have learned happened in a particular moment when you were absolutely aware that something was changing? If you’re like me, not many at all.
So, tests “work.” A set curriculum “works.” Compulsory standards “work,” even if they’re often irrelevant and short-lived. Limiting freedom and choice and passion “works.”
But do those things “matter?” And, might other aspects of life that aren’t as cut and dried matter more?
Talking about what matters turns out to be uncomfortable because we know so much of what works doesn’t matter in the end.
And remember, if we don’t measure what we value, we’ll end up valuing what we measure.