Home #AtoZChallenge Yardsticks


by Vidya Sury April 29, 2014 27 comments
vidya sury yardsticks


Yes, setting standards for ourselves to measure up to. And the measures we use to judge others.

I remember, from a very early age, I had a tendency to want to do things just right. No half-measures. As I grew older, I became flexible, but not so much that I slacked off from the standards I set myself.

At school, standing first in class did not matter to me. All that mattered was doing my best. I removed the phrase “I’ll try to” from my vocabulary especially in relation to commitments. I either would or wouldn’t. There was no in-between.

My Mom often said, “Don’t set standards that are too high. There’s no need to be perfect. If you have to measure your success, look at the number of live you’ve touched.”

I’ve learned that I must choose my yardsticks carefully or they’ll come back to haunt me – much like a boomerang.

More than anything, that measuring stick must be our own choice. Not what others expect of us. Not our parents’ ideas, not our colleagues’ at work and definitely not Facebook. No need to keep up with the Joneses.

No need to wonder what others will think if you follow your heart.

No need to feel the pressure.

When I switched from a corporate job to becoming a stay at home Mom, I faced a lot of flak from family, friends and “well-wishers” They thought I was nuts to give up a flourishing career and big income to look after my chronically sick Mom and growing son. I have to admit there were days when I felt a twinge of regret, especially during that phase when we were desperately trying to stretch our budget as much as we could. Even though we had to scrimp, I somehow knew I was doing the right thing. I felt peace. I knew with certainly that I did not need someone else’s measure of what was right for me.

When I decide what’s right for me, I put all I have into it to make it work. If I go by someone else’s yardstick, I ‘ll probably never measure up.

vidya sury yardsticks

So how do I build my yardsticks?

By focusing on:

  • my strengths
  • my values and integrity
  • my passions
  • my realities
  • my wants
  • my purpose in life
  • my goals

Ultimately, Life is a result of the decisions we make. Each day, we receive opportunities to make choices for ourselves, choices that will lead to productivity or waste our time. Choices that will help us measure our success.

My Mom always emphasized on the importance of humility vis-à-vis success. The qualities of humble people are worth emulating. Not only are they high on self-awareness – they have high self-esteem. They are comfortable in their own skin. They are not self-deprecating. They regard others with esteem. They do not feel the need to lie.

Then there’s attitude. When we believe that everyone can teach us something, our opportunity to learn is unlimited.

Choose Your Yardstick Carefully. What we measure is more important than how we measure it.

yardsticks vidya sury

So. How will you measure your life?

How will you build your yardsticks?

Day 25 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Y is for Yardsticks.

Today, let’s go visit

Shilpa Garg of A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Found in Folsom



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Monica Deshpande April 29, 2014 at 4:27 am

Another inspiring one, Vidya. Love the line – what we measure is more important than how we measure it.
Monica Deshpande recently posted…X is for Xmas cookies, Greek style

Sreeja Praveen April 29, 2014 at 8:20 am

This is very much an insightful post, Vidya.
First up, I’m impressed, how Mi forms part of your conversations with us everyday; that shows the influence her life and after-life have on you, and it is nice that you’re making us a part of the learning she has imparted to you.
As for yardsticks, we have our own, but we make the terrible mistake of measuring ourselves against someone else’s yardsticks, the result being discontent and disappointment.
Just the fact that I live a life that’s different from someone else , should make me have my own yardsticks, shouldn’t it !
I measure my achievements with the strength that I think I possess – the strength from my values, my prayers and the in-built confidence ! Of course, encouragement is a boost too, and this elevates my standards for me to a certain extent !!
Sreeja Praveen recently posted…A to Z Random Post # 25 Y – Yahoo, they did it !

Proactive Indian April 29, 2014 at 8:29 am

Each person should set yardsticks for herself/himself.

Unfortunately, most of us:
1. Allow others to set yardsticks for us.
2. Set yardsticks for others.

For example, you “switched from a corporate job to becoming a stay at home Mom” for your reasons, not for anybody else’s reasons. More importantly, it was you and your immediate family that was affected by your decision, not anybody else.
Proactive Indian recently posted…Yes We Can!

Birgit April 29, 2014 at 9:10 am

Oh so wise and more people need to read this and swallow it in to their heart. In this day and age when the media states how we should look, what we should buy and what we should do and be, people are more in debt, more overweight and more unhappy. I was not a perfectionist…definitely not-hahaha. My mom is and my husband is and one can see it in their artistry. I am happy when I accomplish something and it is done. I am so happy when I help people in my line of work and they feel better after they leave my office even if it isn’t something they wanted to hear but I try to give them the dignity of the truth (I am a credit counsellor and sometimes I have to say to people they need to sell their home and definitely many who have to go bankrupt). They may not want to hear it but I cannot give them something that won’t help them and one also must understand what they are going through and be there as best as one can for them-they need someone to hear them, listen and be patient. When doing something (or not) I think “If I don’t do this, how will I feel in 5 years from now?” “Can I live with that decision?” If I know I can’t then I must do what is right for me despite what others say or think. I live my life I don’t live theirs
Birgit recently posted…X for Francis X Bushman-Yup a Little cheat

Vidya Sury April 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

Birgit, being a credit counselor must be hard work, not to mention emotionally draining sometimes, especially when you have to do what is right. I admire you for sticking to your principles! That takes a lot of strength. Thank you so much for your comment. I can see how you must be touching lives. ♥

I am loving your movie-star series, Birgit. Feeling a little sad tomorrow is Z. Please do lets keep in touch!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Writing

Beloo Mehra April 29, 2014 at 10:07 am

Another insightful post, Vidya. I can definitely relate to the part about leaving job to do what the heart says/feels is the right thing to do. I have done that type of thing a few times myself, even when people very close to me were not supportive of the choices I were making. Ultimately it is all about what one deeply values in life and if we are doing what the truest feeling within tells us to do, things do work sooner or later. For me it is not so much about success in the way world thinks of success, but a feeling of general contentment and wellness that matters most when i think of my yardstick for happiness in life.
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Y is for Young

Sulekha April 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

Great collection of thoughts here. We do have a tendency to measure ourselves on others’ yardsticks but it is wrong. We need to set our own boundaries and know our strengths and weaknesses, believe in our gut feeling and march ahead in life. Never fear if only we can hear the music we are dancing to. Superb post,Vidya.

Shilpa Garg April 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm

This is yet another insightful and inspiring post! True, usually, we fall into the trap of living up to other people’s yardstick. But that’s a recipe for disaster as this yardstick keeps changing with time and is different for different people. I so agree with “What we measure is more important than how we measure it”.
Thanks a lot for the sharing my blog here, Vidya! Love it! ♥
Shilpa Garg recently posted…Y is for Youthful Zest

Marie Abanga April 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Dear Vidiya,

Some great stuff we have in common I must admit. I love this post and I love your mum’s quote. Hmm, I have yardsticks for myself and have learnt to be flexible and yes passionate; I don’t have yardsticks for others because l realised l could easily get a heart attack over what l couldn’t control in the first place. And so, Yes it depends on us how we plan our lives, set our goals, do what we are passionate about, re-act to circumstances of life and all
Hugs, Marie and #atozer at http://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/
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simple girl April 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

so true .. I must admit it is so difficult to do so.. but then it is the right thing to do.
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Jemima Pett April 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

This is a great post. Not ‘gee, this is a great post’, but ‘Greatness is thrust upon us’, type great.

Thank you for your thoughts and inspiration.

Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April
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Pheno Menon April 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

from my childhood I have hated being compared both for the positives or negatives. My thought was I am not better than the others nor worse. I am me. I always had a diff yardstick 😀

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Doreen McGettigan April 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

This post definately inspired smiles this morning.
Reallly good, inspiring words.
I have enjoyed your posts so much during the challenge.
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Kathy April 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm

When I was growing up and in school if I didn’t get straight A’s I felt as if I had failed. Since then I have realized I should have just did my best. There would have been a lot less pressure. Now that I have children I encourage them to do their best. If they are not perfect..it is OK. Not everyone is perfect at everything. They are perfect being who they are and that is all that really matters in the long run. Enjoying life and being happy. In the end people don’t really remember how smart you are, they value how kind you were, how fun you were, and how you always smiled and laughed. ♥
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LuAnn Braley April 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Namaste, Vidya!

I spent far too many years of my life measuring myself by other people’s yardsticks. I tried to be who others wanted me to be, instead of who I was. The times when I have been able to break through that mold, my soul has opened and it has been GREAT!

LuAnn Braley
AJ’s Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
Back Porchervations
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Susan Scott April 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Wise and wonderful thank you Vidya! When we know our strengths (and weaknesses) we will know that we set the standard for ourselves – we can build on the values we have learned from those whose shoulders we’ve stood on. We know our unique personality, we respect others, and we know that values which no longer serve us, can be said ‘goodbye’ to.
Garden of Eden Blog
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S(t)ri April 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Yet another insightful and inspiring post. Setting yardstick for oneself seems herculean but doing it for others is a cake walk these days 🙁
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Kaarina Dillabough April 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm

My yardstick is fluid and ever-changing in terms of goals and results, but my internal yardstick is steadfast and strong: “this above all, to thine own self be true”. Cheers! Kaarina
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Betsy/Zen Mama April 30, 2014 at 8:41 am

What can I say? Your post says it all… beautiful and so true!
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vishalbheeroo April 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

It’s such an invaluable post, Vidya,to follow the heart and walk the road less travelled. Your Mom’s words is a pearl of wisdom.Right now, I am struggling since I left job but the heart is at peace, knowing something better will come up.
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Obsessivemom April 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Loved this post Vidya. What I enjoy most about your posts is that there is always a valuable takeaway. It’s so easy to get carried away by what is expected of you or what you ‘should’ be doing that setting up realistic yardsticks for yourself becomes difficult. Yet once you do that you can be so much happier.

Michelle Wallace May 1, 2014 at 1:30 am

You’ve said it – perfectly!
And, at some point of our lives, and for various reasons and under different circumstances, we’re all guilty, to a degree, of letting others dictate to us and set the yardstick.
But as we grow older – we learn…
I always say, everyday, we learn something new… 🙂
Michelle Wallace recently posted…Z is for Zibaldone

Rajlakshmi May 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Brilliantly said. You listened to your heart and it ended up perfectly. We have just one life to enjoy and relish with loved ones .
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Priya May 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

You have touched a chord in me with this post, Vidya! Love reading your posts. I do feel I have taken decisions in life without worrying about what others were doing or were thinking and I am blessed to have parents who supported every decision I took or at least never discouraged me. Things are more complex now with more people to judge around, so i keep reminding myself that I have to prove things only to myself and no one else. 🙂
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Angel Stew & Devil's Brew March 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Your mom is very wise. I’ll keep those words tucked in my heart and focus more on touching lives. 🙂 – Love that “At the end of the day…” quote.

Vidya Sury March 28, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Thank you, Karen! Yes, I hold her in my heart always.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Unexpected Upgrades

seema October 2, 2018 at 11:37 pm

Good informative blog.


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