Thursday, May 6, 2010

It’s a numbers game, Baby!


 If anyone tells you that they don’t care about the numbers, my guess is that they’re lying.  These days it’s hard to NOT care about numbers.  Think I’m wrong?  Think again. 

What’s your age?  What’s your weight?  Your blood sugar?  Your blood pressure?  The number of calories you’re putting in your body today?  What’s the number of new emails in your inbox in the morning?  How many friends do you have on Facebook?  How many fans on your page?  How many hits to your website in the last week…the last 24 hours?   How many followers?  How many sales in your eBay store, your Etsy shop?  How many people heart your shop?  What’s your feedback number?  How many text messages are on your phone?  How many points did you get on that paper?  How many points do you have in the class?  What’s your GPA?  What did you get on the ACT?  How many points did you score in the big game?  What’s your salary?  The price of your new house?  Your new car?

It seems like numbers are becoming more and more important…but do they define us?   Do we use them to keep score?  Sometimes the numbers pump us up and sometimes they are one more way we measure ourselves against the rest of the world and see ourselves as falling short.  Maybe our co-worker has more Facebook friends or a blog we admire has a huge following and we feel like we’re never going to get there.  We see celebrities losing an amazing amount of weight and wonder why we’re unable to duplicate the results.  Numbers can be tough.  They’re hard to argue with.

Even so,  I admit it.  I’m a numbers junkie.   The 2nd thing I do every morning is step on the scale.   I know, the experts say you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day, but it helps keep me on track—or get back on track.  If the number drops it encourages me to keep it up.  If it goes up I know I have to try harder.

It’s probably my competitive nature, but I also know all the numbers related to my online presence.  How many sales in my Etsy shop, how many hits on my blog, how many fans on my page, etc.  I don’t obsess over them but I am aware.

On days when my knees and back are aching I feel old.  And, this fall as I head back to school as a 45 year old student (again) I will feel old amid the 20-somethings.  But when I get carded buying beer or when someone is shocked that I have a 20 year old child, suddenly I feel young again.

I don’t believe numbers should define us.  I think they merely describe where we are in a snapshot of time.   The best part about numbers….like everything else, they tend to change.

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