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Consider this hackneyed term ‘benchmarking’ people use in organizations to measure the actuals against predetermined standards. It is said to be one of the best practices by which organizations examine the slack in performance and take measures to make up for the decrease in activity. Well, I am not concerned with how this widely recognized practice facilitates good performance in workplaces. I am actually referring to how this practice (which has it’s origin in Egypt) affects our personal lives too.

A typical home scenario would be thus:

Mom: “How much did you score in Maths?”

Daughter: 98%

Mom: How much did Sheela score? (Sheela’s mom and the daughter’s mom are supposed to be thick pals)

Daughter: 100%

Mom: That’s bad! So where have you lost those two marks?

And the rest, you can tell. In the daughter’s case, the standard is Sheela and falling short of this standard can in no way be tolerated by her mom. But barely does she realize that she’s turning the standard to her daughter’s enemy and ultimately the little girl ends up harboring hatred in her heart for her so called friend. Almost everywhere, comparisons are being made and have become a way of life for almost everyone. At times, we experience some kind of high when we compare ourselves with others and find them less productive. My point is that why can’t we be our own benchmarks and give up our concerns over what our neighbours can do or have? For instance, (in the above case), the mom could have simply said, “now that you have achieved 98%, strive hard for a centum next time”

‘Self benchmarking’ which implies a personal assessment and setting our goals based on that assessment is what we should do. We shouldn’t get stacked up in comparison with others.

One intriguing Biblical text that I’d like to quote in this connection is John 21:20-23:

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’

Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’

In summary, our targets should be based on the best we can give and not on our neighbor’s best. “Love thy neighbor”