Numbers
April 14, 2014

Its Not Always About the Numbers


We’ve become a society obsessed with numbers. Everywhere we go, there is advertising material suggesting how many calories we can burn, how much money we can make, how many dating matches we have, how much time we’d save – the list goes on. On the face of it, it doesn’t sound bad – we’d all love to burn more calories, save more time and make more money. But because the focus is on the numbers almost exclusively produced from an end-product, it has a way of distorting perception that makes one focus on just the results. Numbers say nothing about the inherent quality behind them, and they don’t give us insight into the journey we have to take to achieve them. They can be incredibly seductive however, as they seem to provide a quick-fix for our problems while subtly hiding how much effort actually needs to take place in the journey itself. That’s also a reason marketing is obsessed with using them.

For me, the journey is vastly more important than the destination. Destinations are useful as they provide markers for progress and make for great comparisons, but our lives are more akin to musical symphonies than climbing ladders. If you only listened to a classical piece to hear the final crescendo at the end, you’re probably doing it wrong. The person you are in this moment is a culmination of all the experiences you’ve had since birth – and if the quality of those experiences is lacking in fundamentals it will reflect in one’s character and state of mind too.

Focusing on the numbers also raises the issue of the quality of questions we ask. Because of our numbers-focused thinking, the questions we ask revolve around them – questions like “how can I burn more calories”, “how can I make more money” etc. Intangibles such as the quality of the experience, how much we learn, how deeply we connect with others and how much we fundamentally enjoy the experience are side-stepped. These intangibles are exactly what makes us human, and are the most powerful forces driving our lives. Even though they are more difficult to address, they really need to be at the core of our thinking – with numbers serving as benchmarks of progress instead of the core focus. If we started asking better quality questions, we would begin to focus on experiences that produce equally great results, but in a more healthy, human way according to our renewed focus on what matters.

What is the quality question you can ask yourself today to change the focus of your thinking?

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3 Comments

  1. Natalie April 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I like this article Michal :) It gets one thinking.

  2. Helana Otto April 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Great article and lived reading it. True in every sense!

  3. Elvira April 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Northwest and Kardashian created a stop for your Layout Dressed in all white, Kardashian and
    West attended the 2012 BET Honors in The Auditorium in Los Angeles together.

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