Small has no inside, big has no outside.

This ancient Chinese proverb proves itself every day. Science keeps looking for the smallest particle, and astrophysics keeps looking for the edge of the universe. With this approach, the particles will keep getting smaller and the universe will keep getting bigger.

In reality, big and small are both relative. So, how could we ever define biggest or smallest? In comparison to what? What infinitely large/small ruler are we using to measure everything and come to these assumptions? And, how do we know that this ruler is staying the same size since there is nothing else to measure it against? It all seems a bit strange, doesnʼt it?

This isnʼt just theoretical though, this proverb has real-life application. Have you ever found yourself in a state where you think you have just had the biggest problem ever, and then, a new one immediately showed up that dwarfed all the others? Big has no outside. If you are looking for the absolute biggest problem, it wonʼt be long before you find one even bigger, causing more anxiety in your life.

As another example, have you ever tried to break a theory/idea down into bite-sized chunks? Did you reach the ultimate simplicity? Or, did each piece of the puzzle turn into itʼs own (smaller) puzzle? Small has no inside. Inside each piece you will find 10 more pieces, and 10 more inside each of those.

What is the lesson here? Relax. Stop thinking. Stop trying to measure or judge your world. When you apply this proverb, you can stop looking for the extreme. You understand that it is a foolʼs errand to look for the best, worse, easiest, or hardest because they simply do not exist. You can stop making comparisons. Perhaps most importantly, you can accept the fluidity of life – that there are no limits or edges (neither inward nor outward).

Image Credit: NASA

2 Responses to “Stop Measuring”

  1. In the grand scheme of things, I agree that measuring is a fool’s errand. But there have been times when I have found ‘the best xx right now’. In that moment, I haven’t searched for alternatives as what I had worked for me, in that moment.

    So when I’m measuring, it’s ok for the moment, but not for a perpetual task (for example, the best workout for me will be x today but not forever).

    – Razwana


    • Ah, okay. I like that… You can measure, but only in the “now.” So the problem isn’t the measuring itself, but the past/future measurements. Thanks for sharing that, it makes a lot if sense.


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