State and Trend

I recently heard an interesting Planet Money podcast which talked about the limitations and rampant misuse of the Dow, as in the stock market’s Dow Jones Industrial Average. (You can listen—the Dow part starts at 13:09—or the article is here.)

The gist of it: most of us see and are presented with the Dow, an average of 30 top stock prices, as a moment-to-moment gauge of our country’s economic health. It’s misuse because this isn’t in its design. The Dow is best utilized as something we might check in on once a month, not once an hour.

In another field, social scientists write about state and trend. In yet another, mathematicians describe lines of best fit in the points on a scatter plot. Someone a long time ago said something about the forest and the trees …

Question for you: what metrics are you using to determine your health, or disease, or healing? Can you hold a big-picture vantage along with a moment-to-moment one? It seems to me that while it’s certainly helpful to note how we feel in any given moment, it’s also worth noting, via the intellect and probably more importantly as a felt sense, where our momentum and trajectory are headed.

I have this discussion sometimes with my clients—about state and trend—particularly in KMI Structural Integration series work where the state of their well-being is often quite in flux (while the trend, if we’re doing it right, is always and very much towards a more healthful, integrated, free person).

A long-distance runner doesn’t measure her progress in the first 100 feet … (though she accepts that those steps are as important as any, and also that the step she’s taking right now is the only one she has any control over).

I’d be curious to see any scatterplots out there. What’s the trend?

Have fun with this one. And I hope, as always, that it yields a helpful insight or two.

Cheers, Liam

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