“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” – Lao Tzu
Data acquisition is not new to mankind. In the ancient times, the kings were already acquiring vital information from prophets, royal counselors, and fortune tellers to make better decisions for achieving longevity, prosperity and power.
In today’s era of social media, apps and wearable tech, technology makes personal data easily available and accessible. As an alternative to consulting fortune tellers, we can now leverage the Internet of things to acquire intelligent data and improve the quality of our lives.
That’s why millions of people have already joined the “quantified self” movement: using data acquisition to gain self knowledge and control over our lives. By utilizing wearable self-trackers like the Nike Fuel, the Jawbone Up or the Fitbit products, we can track some of our personal activities and acquire vast amount of data on ourselves.
But can these tech wonders really enhance our lives and make us happier? Will they really give us answers or will they only lead to more questions and confusion?
Quantified self is just the how, not the why
With so much data around us, it’s easy to get lost and information overload is always around the corner. You have to know first to what end you are using data. Self-tracking shouldn’t be an end in itself, it’s only a means to an end. A map won’t be of much use if you don’t know where you want to go. It helps you answer the question “How can I get there?” “Where am I going?” and “Why am I going there?” are questions you have to answer for yourself. Once you have the goal (you can always adjust it later), use data to track it and get there. If you thus harness the power of data rather than being harnessed by data, you can certainly lead stronger, smarter and better lives!
Quantified self gives you a clear picture of yourself
As an aspiring runner, I track my running activities to see where I truly stand and whether or not I am progressing. I use mobile apps like Runkeeper to track the distance I run, my pace, calories burned, and other quantified data I try to analyze to improve my performance. I also input these data in goalmap (goalmap is the platform we have developed to track and reach all goals in our lives).
This helps me get a clear idea of my current fitness level. Self-tracking tools and platforms provide us with accurate quantified feedback on ourselves. It’s like facing a mirror. This self-awareness is a key stepping stone on the path to personal excellence and reaching our full potential.
“Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.” – Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor from 161 to 180)
The social power of quantified self
Although quantified self is about oneself, it leverages the power of social media to bring together like-minded people to unite, challenge, motivate and help each other achieve their goals in life.
The quantified self movement is not only about self-tracking technology but also about leveraging the community for the personal development of all members thanks to tips, comments, encouragements and statistics.
By joining a lively community in which you’ll have a chance to interact with peers who are also on a quest to improving their lives, you’ll get the boost you may need to kick off your personal development campaigns or the support you may require later when your motivation falters.
Your fiercest enemy is the closest to you: it’s you! You have to overcome yourself, overcome complacency and tame this voice in your head that wonders why you should go for a run when it’s raining outside.
The true battles happen within ourselves. Self-tracking gives you the weapons you need for that fight. It provides intelligence on yourself to better challenge yourself.
“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” – Napoleon Hill
Are you using any self-tracking platform to achieve your personal goals? Feel free to share your own experience and tell us how it helps you rock your life.
More article on the goalmap blog about “quantified self”:
- 5 reasons to start tracking your life immediately
- Why everyone needs a goal map, yeah, including you