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“alles mit maß und ziel” – Everything with measurement and goals

The German idiom “alles mit maß und ziel” is literally translated as “everything with measurement and goals” which is interpreted by some people to be the equivalent to the English idiom “everything in moderation.”

What’s odd about that interpretation is that it doesn’t seem to reflect what’s commonly understood about German culture, society, and history. In fact, “everything in moderation” is the opposite of German thinking.

You don’t expect to see a Mercedes or Audi advertisement with the quote “Everything in Moderation” as the motto. German olympians don’t have “Everything in Moderation” embroidered next to the German flag on their competitive uniforms.

In fact, the Mercedes motto is “Das Beste oder nichts” which translates as “The Best or Nothing.”

It’s more likely that “everything with measurement and goals” means literally what it says: measurements (metrics and data) should be at the core of everything we do, and goals (our desired outcomes) should be served and advanced by all our efforts. We should be measuring our progress and letting those measurements help guide us to more effectively achieving our goals.

Peter Drucker offered a similar idiom “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Today, many people have fitness trackers and apps that measure their walks, bike rides, and workouts. These measurements give people an accurate view of how well they are keeping up with their exercise goals.

Today, we have numerous devices to help us measure just about any area of life, so it’s a great time to do “Everything with measurement and goals.”

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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