Are Numbers Running Your Life?
No, I’m not talking about Vinnie the Weasel and the Numbers Game. I’m talking about all those other numbers. Numbers that we often use to evaluate our self-worth, to compare ourselves to others, and to determine whether or not we’re going to have a good life or even just a good day. These can include:
- Weight and Fitness: personal avoirdupois, BMI, how many reps, how much weight, often we get to the gym, how many M&Ms we went through last night, dress or pants size
- Measured Achievement: all sorts of scores – SAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, Wii games (of course, only ones for “intelligent people”), GPA
- Money: Dow Jones, amounts in IRA, 401k,emergency fund, savings, checking, wallet, giant penny jar, fluctuations in any of the above
- Piety: Masses per week, devotions added up, size of holy card collection
- Professional: Number of direct reports, department budget, size of choir, gigs completed, gigs booked
Especially the numbers to dread:
- The read-out on your scale on Monday morning reflecting a great weekend
- The numbers on the hymn board where you don’t select the music
We like numbers because they seem so concrete and factual – unemotional, in fact. However, then we run and attach all our emotions and our happiness to them. Ever ask someone how she is and get the response, “I gained 2 pounds and the Dow is down”? Gosh, glad I asked. Okay, so exercise more, eat less and stop checking the market every five minutes just because you can.
In the long run, none of these matter. I visit lots of cemeteries and have yet to see any of the first groupings on a headstone. As for the second set, just remember what fun you had and hope for better music in the future.