A few years ago, Josiah verbalized an understanding of the female part of the human race that showed a level of intuition that is not common in teenage boys. I do not remember the context of the comment; however, he stated, “So – women don’t want to have their size to be a double digit?” He realized at a very young age that numbers are important to women. The size of our clothing makes a difference in how we view ourselves. The number on the scale makes a difference in the way in which we view ourselves.
Numbers mean something.
On November 1, I wrote a blog post about adoption. I had no idea that November was National Adoption Month until my aunt kindly informed me of the fact. I had no idea that this convergence of my blog post and this national celebration of adoption would create a spike in blog readers. When this happened, I became obsessed with the number of hits that my blog received that day. I had written the post early in the morning, and as the day went on, I received several emails telling me that people were reading it. There were comments stacking up under the Facebook post with the link. Kerry and I drove to Detroit Lakes, MN, that night, and I kept checking the stats on the WordPress app on my phone.
Numbers mean something.
I felt my view of myself change because of the numbers that I saw. With each increase of readers, how I felt about myself went up as well. Another reader meant that someone else wanted to read what I had to say! Other people were reading what I wrote. I was important. And the numbers said so. My self-esteem went up and up and up with each additional hit on the post. It was my highest number of readers EVER: 252 hits! I was humbled but also just felt great. I have always dreamed of being a writer, having something to say to the masses, and having the masses want to read what I wrote. While 252 readers is not “the masses,” it was the closest I have ever been to the masses.
This works out just fine as long as the numbers are high. However, when the numbers are low, I am tempted to feel low about myself as well. The odd thing about the Nov 2 post is that it was still my third highest hit day ever! But having the number of hits go from 252 to 141 was hard to take. By yesterday, the hit number was back down to the usual number of hits that I have … 22. I was devastated! Am I no longer interesting, relevant, or worth reading? How can I get back up to 252 hits?
I realized last night, as I thought about how to increase my number of hits (what topic would get 300 hits?!?!?!), that something had changed in me. On Tuesday, I started to think about what would happen if the right person would read my blog and like it. Could I be syndicated by someone exciting from an exciting website such as the New York Times? Would someone ever pay me to write blog posts? That would be so fun!
On August 1, I committed to blogging every day until the end of the year. The points of this commitment were to work on writing, to get thoughts out of my brain, to organize these thoughts, and to be disciplined in something. On August 1, I had no intention of “accumulating the masses” or counting the number of hits each day. There was no thought about hoping to have 252 people read my blog each day. I had no intention of thinking about anything beyond this commitment.
Yet, on November 1, all I could think about was the numbers and where those numbers could take me. And in the days between then and now, this has consumed me. And in consuming me, this has taken my focus away from writing truly authentic blog posts about the things that bounce around in my head to writing blog posts that others want to read.
This happens in other parts of my life as well. Small commitments turn into big dreams that make me think, “Where could this take me?” Any time I lose my focus as I take my eyes off of the task at hand and dream about where I could be, I lose sight of the important things. In reality, the tasks need to be the priority, and the future will happen if it should.
Numbers should not mean anything to me in this project. Writing this blog is a personal commitment of discipline. While something great and different could come of this, that is not the point right now. Authenticity does not flow from me when I focus on the numbers. Authenticity comes when I write what is on my heart and needs to be fleshed out for my own purposes. If others are blessed and can resonate, then that is an additional blessing…but it is not the point and should not be the focus.
I need to remember that numbers are meaningless. If only one person reads my blog, it just doesn’t matter. That is not the point.
Numbers are meaningless. Maybe if I write that one more time, I will believe it.
Numbers are meaning less.