There’s a bed they sell that let’s you set a “sleep number.” You get to determine the stiffness or softness you want with a dial and then enjoy a restful night of customized comfort. I forget the name of the manufacturer, but if they want to sponsor my blog, I would Google that on the quick and write it in bold. (The kids need new shoes! Keens specifically, because wow, those things stink after a season of backyard romping.)
The commercials they run about this bed have people talking about their “sleep number.” I think it’s an interesting concept, but what’s even more fascinating to me is that most people have a “success number.”
As you start chasing a dream, it’s easy to get focused on a number that will indicate you’ve accomplished something.
If you get 1,000 readers on your blog, then you’ve written a good blog.
If you get 10,000 followers on Twitter, then you’re good at social media.
If your book hits number 1 on Amazon, then you’ve written a good book.
And numbers like that are not bad. I think they can serve as great sources of measurement, but there’s a danger here as well.
If you focus too much on a number, it will become your motivation.
It will become your sole purpose.
It will become your goal.
Like a watch swinging in the hand of a hypnotist, it will woo you into thinking the number is what matters most.
Right now, you are thinking you are immune to that temptation. And I hope you are. But if I’m being honest, I am not. And the problem is that when the number fails you (and it will), you will feel like a failure. Even when you are not.
This is the Amazon sales rank of my first book Stuff Christians Like.
There is not an author on the planet who dreams of one day having a book that is ranked #41,009 on Amazon. But it happens. And if I trust that number, if I ask that number if I’m a good writer, if I should ever write another book, do you know what it will say?
I shouldn’t. There are 41,008 better selling books than mine right now. There are entire libraries full of books people like more than Stuff Christians Like.
But guess what?
The number doesn’t get a say in whether or not I write. The number doesn’t get a vote in the “should I go on?” discussion. It’s just a number.
The number isn’t my dream. It’s my measurement, not my motivation.
I hope the numbers associated with your dream are awesome. But please, for the sake of your dream and your sanity, make sure the number you care about is just your data, not your deity.
What’s a number you can measure in regards to your dream?