Have you ever noticed how much numbers seem to matter to us? Or to be more accurate, how much we make them matter? Your numbers won’t be mine and mine won’t be yours because our happiness numbers are personal. And self-determined. In many ways and on many levels, we equate certain numbers with happiness.
“I’m unhappy at 80kgs but I’ll be happier at 70 and totally happy at 65.”
Sure you will.
Six months later she’s an unhappy 65 kgs but knows she’ll be happy when she hits 60. If not 60, then definitely 55.
Well, almost definitely.
We’ve all played our own numbers game at some stage. We convince ourselves that happiness is simply a matter of coming up with the right number. When I was a young dumb bodybuilder, I desperately wanted my sixteen inch biceps to be seventeen. Naturally, I got there only to realise that eighteen was, in fact, the magic (happiness) number. And so on. Who knew that bigger arms wouldn’t fix crappy self-esteem? Or stupidity?
I recently asked a bloke about his primary goal for the next year and he replied…“3186”. I was confused and asked him what his four-digit answer meant. He informed me that it was the postcode of the area he wanted to buy a property in. “But your house is awesome”, I offered. “But it’s not in Brighton is it?” was his response. Apparently his happiness number is 3186. Well, so he believes.
One of my mechanically-minded friends and some-time training partner just rebuilt his Corvette to take it from 450 to 550 horsepower. It looks and sounds the same as before but now it has 550 horsepower. Apparently that number is really something. Even though he lives in a state where the maximum speed limit is 110kph and he can’t actually use most of the power, he’s really loving those extra 100 horses.
For a while.
Then there’s the woman who loves her job, is paid extremely well, is debt free and has way more stuff than she can use. One day, another company asks her to leave her awesome job and to join them for fifty percent more money. All of a sudden she is less content in her current job. She realises she could earn much more and dollar signs begin to flash before her eyes. After talking about the offer with a friend, she realises that… “if fifty percent is on the table then I could probably get an extra seventy. Yep, I’d be happy with a seventy percent pay rise” she tells her friend. Interestingly, the woman who was earning 200K a year (happily) decides that 300 will not make her happy but somehow, 340 is her new happiness number.
Is her happiness a numerical or psychological issue?
I recently saw a coach interviewed in a press conference about his team’s performance. They had just won a close game and a journalist asked him if he was happy with the result. “No, we should have won by ten goals”, was the reply. For the coach, his happiness number was ten. For him, winning wasn’t enough.
A friend of mine once told me that being unmarried at thirty-five simply wasn’t an option for her. At the time, she had just turned thirty and was very clear about her happiness number regarding marriage. She turns thirty five soon and she’s currently single. I wonder if her number has changed?
Another friend of mine once told me that she would never date anyone more than ten years older than her. “It’s creepy and sad”, she said. Last year she married a bloke who is sixteen years older than her. She is very happy and in love.
She must have forgotten about the number.
By the way, I’m not sure what size my biceps are these days but somehow, it doesn’t matter.