The ‘mysterious monitoring and evaluation system’ - What it is and how it works?

4/4/20246 min read

a close up of a piece of paper with writing on it
a close up of a piece of paper with writing on it

There is a ‘mysterious monitoring and evaluation system’ constantly at work in our lives. It keeps track of all our daily activities, our decisions, our commitment to the self-promises made and the adherence to the proven, age-old principles or universal truths. It is extremely efficient, is tailored to track our uniquely individual lives and most importantly, plays a key role in deciding how much we go on to achieve in our lives. However, it is not a complex system and does not require the study of any religious scriptures or historical records for understanding it's working. In fact, it works with surprisingly short equations that are easy to comprehend and so lucid that they are often ignored due to their perceived simplicity. These equations take inputs from our unique lives, process them and provide proportional outputs, which dictate the level of success that we enjoy during our stay in this world. Based upon these outputs, the system also provides a continuous feedback to us, which has to be intuitively grasped for improving upon the inputs, if required. Therefore, for understanding the system, we need to discuss the inputs, the equations, the outputs, and finally the feedback mechanism.

The inputs to this mysterious system are the activities that we routinely do as part of our personal, professional, family and social lives. In the case of our personal lives, the manner in which we spend our ‘alone time’ determines the input. Some of us choose to indulge in our hobbies, a few like to workout, a small minority are keen to experiment and adventure, while the majority prefers to watch daily shows / movies / sports, play computer games, or browse the social networking sites / Internet. As far as our professional lives are concerned, the input is more or less pre-decided as most of the time is taken up by the immediate work-duties. The free time, if available, is usually spent gossiping or browsing the Internet. A few of us, though, also follow the industry developments or the latest technological breakthroughs in our area of expertise. Finally, the inputs from our family and social lives are governed by the priority given to our family members or friends and the resultant time spent interacting with them. For a good majority of us, among all the different roles we assume in our lives, the family role is the most significant one, whereas, for the rest, the personal or the professional role is of utmost importance. The manner in which our total time is divided between all our roles (personal, professional, family and social) and the corresponding sub-activities has a strong bearing on the outputs generated by the monitoring & evaluation system. Of course, the inputs have to be first processed by the aforementioned equations before the outputs can be determined.

The universally applicable equations or principles or truths are not new to or hidden from the general population. In fact, they are so obvious and omnipresent that they often get overlooked. The most important one of the many equations at work is the ‘equation of discipline and perseverance’. It is based upon the fact that if we spend a few minutes or hours on an activity, every single day for a considerable number of months or years, even in the face of the stiffest of the internal or external resistances, the result or the output gets compounded as the effort put in piles on. Equally significant, if not less, is the ‘equation of responsibility and ownership’. This equation works around the philosophy that despite the circumstances or the people surrounding us, ultimately we all are responsible for our own lives. If we are at the pinnacle of success or at the nadir of failure or defeat, we would definitely have taken some decisions in the past that drove us to our current situation, good or bad. Besides these two key equations, some (but not all) other noteworthy equations are the ‘equation of sharing’ (the more we share, the more we learn), the ‘equation of commitments’ (the more we deliver upon the promises made to ourselves and to others, the more trustworthy we become), and the ‘equation of humility’ (the humble we remain during our hour of glory, the easier it is to survive failures). All these equations work upon the inputs and deliver outputs, in line with the effort and the time put in against each of our life roles and the associated sub-activities.

The outputs generated by the system are logic driven and don't surprise anyone consciously or subconsciously aware of and respectful to the universal equations or principles. In the case of our personal lives, the ‘equation of discipline and perseverance’ to a larger extent and the ‘equation of responsibility and ownership’ to a limited extent dictate the outputs. Dedicating even 1 hour every day, for a long period of time (maybe years), to a hobby or our health or some constructive research is, as per the logic behind the first equation, enough to develop an expert within each of us in our area of interest. The world may call the resulting success, a sheer stroke of luck or a miracle, but for the ‘expert’ it remains a logical outcome of the consistent inputs provided to the first equation every single day and the constant belief in the second equation during the toughest of the times. As far as our professional lives are concerned, the second equation, that of ‘responsibility and ownership’, primarily decides the outputs. The first equation too, but at a smaller scale, affects the outcomes. Fulfilling our work-related duties and taking complete accountability for the tasks assigned to us is, as per the second equation, the only route to a successful career. If supported by a dedicated effort towards continuous learning of newer technologies and industry advancements, the outputs of the equation one also come into the picture and together with the outputs of the equation two, lead to a bigger professional success. Finally, the outputs in case of our family and social lives are decided predominantly by the ‘equation of commitments’, though the ‘equation of sharing’ and the ‘equation of responsibility and ownership’ also, at times, come into play. The more we spend time with our family members and friends, attend to their concerns and deliver upon the promises made to them, the more enriching relationships we develop with them. The only input required, for generating positive outputs in our family and social lives, is time. Quite often, one of our life roles demands more attention and leads to the neglect of other roles. As a consequence, the ‘monitoring and evaluation’ system provides subtle indications to us for reestablishing the balance. These indications, as mentioned before, need to be intuitively understood and form the modus operandi of the quiet ‘feedback mechanism’ working continuously in the background.

The feedback mechanism is the last link in the close-looped ‘monitoring and evaluation’ system and uses indications, hints and clues to communicate. These hints or clues pop up in a random fashion and are not very obvious, but they do form patterns, which keep on repeating themselves until we register their presence and address the root cause. Curbing a personal desire for other ‘important’ issues leads to a pattern, which keeps on repeating until the desire is taken to its logical conclusion, e.g. someone’s ignored dream of owning a company leads to the ‘feedback mechanism’ providing half-chances to him for taking the plunge and starting a business (like a close friend’s invite to become a business partner or a chance to attend an entrepreneurial summit). If the opportunities are not grabbed, the pattern of the personal desire swelling up again - a few chances popping up again - the opportunities getting ignored again, will keep on repeating, year after year, until addressed. Similar to the personal lives, the mechanism develops patterns in our professional, family and social lives also. Successful business leaders leaving an organisation - mediocre leaders joining - changing policies - poor appraisals - random firings, are individual hints to a pattern indicating that one should switch to another company. In a similar manner, younger minds flourishing in an organisation - company going stricter on compliance to standards and regulations - new technology / software incorporation in business, are clues to a pattern that points towards the improvement of one’s knowledge base and technical capability for professional survival and relevance. Lastly, in the case of our family and social lives, other people interfering in personal relationships - misunderstanding between family members / friends - altercations and the resulting sourness, is a pattern signalling that no third parties should be allowed to intrude in a relationship unless requested. A number of other patterns can be detected that allude to improvement in one of the many lives and the corresponding roles we play every day. Apart from the already mentioned patterns, these can be related to our health, mental peace, spiritual development, altruistic tendencies, etc. Whatever be the pattern, the key is to identify it, detect its source, align the corresponding inputs and let the equations do the rest.

The ‘monitoring and evaluation’ system is a simple yet robust system, surprisingly timeless and applicable to all of us. As to why it is mysterious? The mystery lies in our ignorance of the system despite its simplicity, applicability and universal presence.