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How Numbers Rule Our Life and Why That Should Stop

You wake up and check the time — a bunch of numbers — to determine how long you have to prepare before you get to work. The numbers 9 and 5 demarcate the beginning and end of your work day, though we both know how much work you actually do during that time, and how much gets wasted into watching cat videos on youtube and facebook. According to this CNBC report, 3.5 trillion dollars’ worth of productivity has been wasted by facebook since its inception.

And if Facebook was still not invented, the time would have been wasted in other pursuits, so please don’t blame Mark Zuckerberg.

So I was filling in this form, and I had to check — and double-check- the passport number because that number is super-important. Then I had to pay for something online, and a credit card number had to be carefully input. Then I logged into medium and my blog, and the statistics told me how popular my recent posts have been. I bought food and the cashier chirpily announcement the amount I had to pay — another set of numbers. Later in the evening, I went to the gym, and the time spent on treadmill and weight measured afterwards represented my performance.

And that was just one day.

Numbers are important. They run our lives. In school, grades and ranks are important. At work, salaries and KPI’s are numbers. They even tell you when you apply for a job to quantify your performance in your several jobs.

But here are a few questions;

– Do KPI’s tell you the quality of engagement and fulfillment you get from your job?

– Is there a correlation between the number of your twitter followers and the impact that your work has done on their lives?

– Does your salary measure your worth as a person?

– Are your blog stats proportional to the joy you derive from the process of writing?

– Do your grades really measure how much you’ve internalized the lessons taught in class or do they represent how much you can regurgitate onto the page during a certain time period?

– Among the many facebook friends that you have, is there really someone you could call at 3 am when you’re stuck somewhere and in dire need for a ride?

So now that you’re starting to look differently at the numbers, I would like to add a sixth point to Bronnie Ware’s book,The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing which listed the following;

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

and finally

6. I wish I did not let numbers rule my life.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Tweet me @ahechoes to let me know.

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Also, check out my fiction short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast” and subscribe to the newsletter here; 
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Published inCareerProductivity