Local Maxima

14 Jun

Ruchi asked me last night – “what was the highlight of the day”. 

It got me thinking. For far longer than I expected. I finally gave her an answer. 

But the answer wasn’t the answer I wanted to give. 

Of course there was a highlight of the day. All days would have one. But was it the highlight I wanted? 

For a long time, we have been asking the wrong questions it seems 

What’s the best thing you have done

What’s the thing you are proudest of 

What’s your most cherished moment 

Which achievement did you have work the hardest for 

All these questions are trying to find what I call “local maxima”. 

It’s a statistical term – and simply put it means picking a small range in a graph and finding the highest point in the curve.

All these questions will of course have an answer. Even the most depressed guy on earth will have a “happiest” moment. The one who thinks he has few achievements will have one that he is proud of. There will be one moment in everyone’s life they will cherish. 

We are trying to find the highs in the range of their own lives. 

There is another concept in statistics

Global maxima

If you look at the curve in its entirety, what’s the highest point. 

Which moment, if created, would you love to have as your most cherished 

Which achievement, if accomplished, would you be proudest of 

What would you love to be remembered as

What would you want your highest point in life to be 

The best thing in your life so far should not be the best thing in your life ever. 

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