Despite having worked for 7 years in an industry where numbers are used everyday, I must confess Im not very good with numbers. Some friends used to joke that they should start selling shares in the company when I first joined, for how can someone who cant do 1+1 without a calculator be a manager there?!
Well, somehow I managed. But yes, the companys share price fell 50% over the last 7 years. Id like to think I wasnt the one who caused it.
However, its a fact that Im coming to terms with. Numbers are simply not my strongest point. I flunked calculus and physics in school, and just could not grasp the concept of how to calculate momentum or redox actions. I failed the CFA Level I exam twice.
To this day, I do not know how to calculate profit margin off the top of my head. I even have to google it to remind myself what the term actually means. Give me a financial report with cash flow statements, P&L and budgets, and Id rather you shoot me in the head right here and now. Of course, I learnt to read some of the analysis, and know that something went up and something came down, and what were the important ratios when I was doing the job.
Perhaps I had no confidence in my ability for anything numerical and so just shied away from it all. On the contrary, I thrived with literature, words, language, prose, poetry! Id actively sign up for debate competitions, essay contests and even book report competitions when I was a kid. I think I won quite a few of them too 🙂
Yet, Im obsessed with numbers.
I looked everyday on my own spreadsheets back then, at how many client visits I had done, and chuckled when I topped the list of the department. I kept a tab on my sales targets, only able to manage a smile when I had exceeded them by 30%. Then of course, it was how much money I had in the bank account and how my funds and stocks were moving.
Even today, I worry my head off with numbers. How much have I spent at the doctors this month, how many people saw and read my articles and blurbs and blog, what is my bounce rate, how many subscribers, how many comments
I became giddy when the line chart spikes up, and I get sad and disappointed when it drops.
Somehow, I had let these numbers define me to my own detriment.
Is there a direct causal relationship between the quality of my writing and number of readers? Surely content is fundamental but it is not the whole story.
And does a larger amount in my bank account savings correlate to my happiness and inner peace?
Well, it has been proven that it doesnt, at least in my case. If anything, these two seem to be inversely proportional to each other for me.
So I wonder, why am I putting so much emphasis on more, higher, bigger, larger, all the time? Numbers give us a benchmark of course, for improvement, for progress, for analysis. But, numbers should not box us up and control our directions.
So Im just going to do what I love and write, and not let the number of views bother me, well at least, not bother me that much.