Dark Side Of Quantitative Goals
"My goal for this year is to read ten books."
I used to set this kind of goal at the beginning of the year, and as you might have guessed, I ended up reading only two or three.
There are a multitude of reasons why I didn't pull it off. Upon reflection, one primary reason that keeps popping up in my head is, "What is driving me?"
I briefly mentioned it in my last blog post Happy New You
This question, in turn, prompted me to ask myself a few more questions.
- Why am I reading books?
- Why ten books? Why not twelve or twenty? Who/What is influencing me in setting this count?
- What am I trying to achieve by reading this?
Seeking to find answers to this question revealed an ugly truth - I want to look smarter in front of others. I was reading books not to seek and improve knowledge; instead, I was using them to show off.
Social media profoundly influenced me, and I succumbed to the status game. It took some time to realize that I was a victim.
However, this realization was a game-changer in my life. I stopped chasing the external social status and started seeking internal mastery.
I no longer count the number of books. Instead, I count the pearls of wisdom gathered from those books. I started reading books (both technical and non-technical) that challenged my convictions and sought actual knowledge.
Any book that I open, I always start with, "Why am I reading this book?" If I didn't find any convincing answer, I close it no matter how much it was popular and recommended by others.
While reading If, I found that the book does not justify "my why", I stop reading further.
I chose to read classic books from the pre-social-media era where the author(s) were genuinely interested in sharing their expertise rather than attaining an "influencer" status.
It is liberating, and I am at peace.