Chaos here with the 177th blog post of Chaos and Confetti!
This past weekend, the WWE put on their 1st PPV/PLE of the year, the 36th annual Royal Rumble. Cody Rhodes won the men’s Rumble from spot number 30, and Rhea Ripley won the women’s from the number 1 spot. Both competitors will main event Wrestlemania 39. New records were set during the 2023 Royal Rumble event: Gunther lasting 1 hour 11 minutes 25 seconds, Chelsea Green only lasting 10 seconds (new women’s record, but not as short as Santino Marella’s 1.09 seconds), an all-time gate record of $7.7 million.
As silly as it may be, one of my favorite parts of the yearly build to the Royal Rumble is WWE’s “By the Numbers” video package where they highlight records and stats from Rumble history. I don’t consider myself a big “sports” person, and I find it kind of silly when people can roll off dozens of specific sports stats, yet there I am geeking out over numbers (and it’s not like I don’t have a bunch of random trivia stored in my brain too). It’s not even an anomaly for me to care about wrestling numbers; I love hearing stats about title reigns and number of defenses. Throw a wrestling stat my way, and I’m sure to care.
But this isn’t about wrestling; it’s about the power of tracking numbers.
As a civilization we have the power to track so much of the world around us, but we also have a penchant for tracking ourselves. I know I do it. I have a watch that tracks my steps, apps for board game and book statistics, and a habit of logging and recording a bunch of useless self-information that probably shouldn’t even matter to me. Yet, there I am recording it all.
Now some numbers make sense to stay ahead of: weight, budget, bills, grades, and blood pressure. Others hold at least some significance due to culture and societal expectations: age, anniversaries/holidays, number of teeth, how many strikes you have in the state of California.
A lot of these things I’m keeping track of don’t have an obvious value beyond, it’s that nice to know. So, why do I do it? Should I do it?
For me personally, many of these stats are about goals, remembrance, and fun.
I’m the kind of person who wants to know how many pages are in a book and how many pages are left in a chapter. It sets little milestones and goals for me to achieve. Numbers create an easy way to push myself.
I might not feel the innate need to be more active, but I’m sure as heck going to hit my active minute and active calorie goals that I’ve set on my smart watch. My streak for hitting my active calories every day is at 1,252 days and you know I’ll do everything in my power to keep that going, even if it means I have to run a few laps around the house or pull over the car to get a quick jog in.
It’s the same with my books and board game stats. I use them to set goals, but to also make sure that I make time for the things I want to do. It’s easy to put pleasurable things on the back burner to responsibilities and simply spacing out, but telling myself I plan to hit certain goals gives me reason to make the time (it’s one of the reasons for this blog).
I can also use those goals to help shape my behavior in other ways. Our 10×10 board game goals have us playing some games more while other goals have us exploring different parts of our collection.
I may be creating a museum-of-self that matters to nobody else, but I love being able to look back at what I’ve done in the past. Having easy access to a list of books I’ve read and things I’ve watched is pretty neat. It’s like a unique scrapbook, the same reason I take pictures and put them on social media. I like having reminders and getting thrown back into different points in my life.
So there are so many moments and items I won’t think about, but then it’s (usually) cool to get an excuse to see them and sometimes even let them inform the now. “I did like doing that/seeing that/being that. Why not make a point of doing/seeing/being that again?”
It may also be a little silly, but sometimes I wonder if any of it will mean anything to my son. Personally, I have found old family lists and paperwork that have given me different insights into people before. Maybe one day my kid will be interested in the kind of things I did and cared about in the past. Or maybe not. Who can ever tell with kids?
I’m the kind of person who makes daily to-do lists and gets a kick out of checking things off. Is it any wonder that making other types of lists are adding to them or tracking other life tidbits also sounds great to me?
Not much to say here, other than the fact that I think it’s pretty neato.
I am fully willing to admit that while self-tracking can be fun and great for me, it may not be for everyone.
The numbers can add a sense of pressure. It’s easy to feel bad when your numbers aren’t coming in where you want them. It’s even tougher when you set goals. Not hitting benchmarks can suck, and even if it’s only yourself who cares, it can still feel crumby.
While you can influence your behavior for the better (move more, make time for your hobbies), you can also affect yourself negatively. If you start putting aside other important tasks for the ones you set numbers for that’s no good either. Or if your hobbies become more about the numbers than the hobbies themselves. Read short books and play short games instead of longer ones you’re really interested in because it ups your numbers. Suddenly you lose sight of the purpose of what self-tracking is meant to be about.
There is also the danger of making what you love feel more like a job. If you start applying pressure on yourself to hit milestones and up your “levels” it can be extra stressful. Again, you want to open yourself to fun, not simply check boxes off. If tracking your numbers isn’t adding joy or better understanding to your life, it may not be for you.
The Wrap Up:
Thanks for joining me as I ramble along this thing we call life. Thanks to the Royal Rumble and not being too far removed from talk of New Year’s resolutions/goals, the idea of tracking numbers had been on my mind. However you decide to live your life, I hope it’s wonderful and makes you feel like a number 1.
2 thoughts on “Chaotic Considerations: Master Tracker or Great Distractor”
Awesome move streak! My longest was 566 days and I thought I was a champion for sustaining that!
566 is pretty amazing too!! I lost one at in the 600 range multiple years ago and it was pretty disheartening. I know it will eventually happen with this one!
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