I see that Seth Godin is pointing out the pitfalls of benchmarking.
We can benchmark our eyesight, our rowing speed, our memory or even our ability to come up with great ideas at a momentís notice. As a result, we benchmark ourselves into a funk. We get stressed because we have to acknowledge that nothing is as good as it was.The problem with benchmarking is that it so easily takes us away from our actual experience. For example, if we assess our gym performance only by the heart rate monitor, we might forget to pause for a second and sense how we actually feel... have we strained muscles... half-an-hour later, do well feel good for the experience?
In addition to the stress, benchmarking against the universe actually encourages us to be mediocre, to be average, to just do what everyone else is doing.
I agree with Seth. In business the pursuit of "best practice" can sometimes destroy the fun of people creating their own ways of doing things, and remove the spontaneity that itself is part of creating the fabled "customer experience". Market surveys love to benchmark, as if their averages are a fair representation of the mulitplicity of human responses to a product or service. But they aren't... and they tend to keep us in the realm of the known instead of the more creative realm of the unknown.