You might have started your blog/website with the noble intention of making the internet better by sharing your passion for a topic of choice. You then did the usual – signed up for Google Analytics, a Facebook page, a Feedburner account, etc.
Click through on any of these and you see numbers and stats thrown at you – total reach, number of page views, number of unique visitors, bounce rate, etc., etc. You notice that one post has had more visitors than others – maybe you should post many more like that one? These numbers then prime you when you begin writing your next post and make you wonder what you can do to further increase your reach. Should you perhaps start paying for a bit more reach?
Suddenly, you’ve lost track of that initial objective of making the internet better. Suddenly, it’s all a competition.
A blog is just one example, of course. Numbers and stats in any domain can mess with our original intentions. Charities go about trying to increase the number of donors, partners and regularly forget about focusing on impact (which is much harder to measure). Companies focus so hard on the stock price race that they forget about serving customers and the problems they set out to solve.
Don’t let everything become a bloody competition. Use numbers and stats where necessary. Throw them away if you’re trying to make art. Figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing. Then just do it.