Performance vs Morality

By Toku

Performance is a function of performance. We offer certain inputs, inside a certain environment, and we see what kind of outputs we get. 

The more we can control for the environment the more we can predict and modulate our inputs to get a certain output. The more chaotic or seemingly random the environment the more performance becomes part art and part science. 

It’s easy to get lost in the dance that we ‘should’ know the correct inputs. 

We should have the right knowledge, experience, data, and courage to make the ‘right’ choices.  Only a future you really knows what the results of your choices are. 

From here, the future is a void. When we measure performance, observe the process, and are attentive to results we can generally perform better over time given the right resources. 

Morality is how good you are or a judgment about whether you are a good person. Because we value performance we often think that people who perform better are better people. It isn’t actually true, and very often we’re disappointed when star athletes, giants of industry, or our leaders reveal their human frailty to us. 

But because we value performance it’s easy to think that performance is the most important factor of morality. Even though it’s not. 

While thinking that performing better will make us better people might inspire us to work and pay attention, the utility of this mix up pretty much stops there. And for every person who seeks to perform better to be better, there are three people who feel awful about who they are because of some real or imagined lack of performance. 

In truth, these two things are just different. Not that they don’t interact and play with each other. But performance is performance. It’s a measure of outputs based on certain inputs in a certain environment. And morality is morality. It’s about who you choose to be in life, it’s about kindness and generosity, it’s about love. 

And anyone who’s ever tried to measure of tweak the utility of love through performance can probably tell you the futility of trying to bar graph the heart. 

If you can allow them to be separate. If you can survive poor performance while maintaining a good self-image, so much is possible for you. It takes work, but it’s a worthwhile path to follow if you wish to do meaningful work in the world. 

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