Donald Trump once said that money was never a big motivation, except as a way to keep score. The problem with keeping score, this way is that it gives us a false sense of security. We believe if we can quantify it, we can control it. We can make our lives safe.
I much prefer the advice given by Theodore Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
But this advice does not seem to resonate much in our 21st century world. Nowadays score keeping rules our collective lives. If we can not quantify, categorize or score it, then it must not really be important.
Our national obsession with keeping up with the Jones’ has created the McMansion, the 65-hour work week and an unused-vacation-time epidemic. We keep working harder and longer just to build an ever-stronger moat around our lives. Survey after survey shows that the security of money does not lead to a happy or fulfilling life, but we keep at it anyway. But it is getting worse. Now it is not only our working lives being affected, but our personal lives as well.
Social media has forever changed the concept of friends. We now live in some dystopian, never-ending middle school version of Hades where our worth is scored based on our number of connections. And even these can be broken down further 1st tier, 2nd tier etc.
Remember when baseball was a simple game of who scored the most runs? Now we have BABIP, WAR, OPB, SLG and the list goes on to create a veritable alphabet soup of statistics. And don’t even get me started on fantasy football.
We need to constantly quantify our food. We track our nutrients, count our carbs, figure our how many grams of protein we need. Then we log our diet on a handy smart phone app. The ways to score our food are limitless, depending upon our food goals. (I always thought the goal was to stop being hungry? Shows what I know.)
Maybe we can just take a walk and for get about all this. Nope. We need to track our route so we can post it to our followers. Turn on the pedometer app to count steps, and don’t forget to strap on the heart-rate monitor. We have turned a nice walk into a commercial for obsessive compulsive disorders.
All this score keeping keeps us from simply enjoying things. What would life be like if we stopped keeping score for a while.
We’d worry less about how much our neighbor was making, and think more about whether or not we enjoyed what we were doing.
We could stop counting our friends and actually interact with them more often.
Leisure time could regain its value as a time for contemplation and reflection.
Life is inherently haphazard. The good stuff happens in the unplanned and untracked moments. Stop keeping score and let them happen.