The Algorithm of Life, The Data Religion

His dashboard was ready, its intricately drawn lines showing the connectedness between multiple aspects, straight and curved, equally spread around a few choice words like learning, finance and fitness, floating across other choice words like work and relationships, across every direction. The dashboard wasn’t really a board or an interface displayed on an electronic device. It was handwritten, drawn out on an A3 sized sheet and was simply titled as ‘Life’. Also included was a separate section about nutrition, cascaded by an overarching narrative of quantifying, measuring, tracking, noting and improving every aspect, thereby becoming better everyday, which incidentally was also the current motto of the company he worked for.

He had created the dashboard after a great session of sweating it out over a couple of dumb bells, pull-ups, push-ups, dips and squats. During the session, his mind had wandered during the rest periods of thirty seconds, taken after each set, and during the set itself, occupying his mind along so many tasks that he needed to do within a specific time frame, coupled with all his aspirations pertaining to his physique, reading books and constantly learning and applying new skills everyday to his life, broadly classified into three mother sets called Money, Social and Creativity, underneath whom all the other facets occupied their positions as sub-sets.

He suddenly felt absolute clarity as he stared at the dashboard. It showed him exactly where he stood. For instance, under Money he was interlinking it with his work and financial planning, further branching out into sub-components like his salary, incentives and bonus within reach, learning about the intricacies of investing by reading about the fundamentals of the financial system and how he could go about choosing the best financial instruments for himself. He admitted, that the dashboard was very practical, made with an aim to quantify as much of his self that was related to Money, Social and Creativity, as possible. In the sense that, in a small small way, tracking down his data would be his new religion.

All that he needed to do now, was follow his dashboard daily and make small improvements day after day for each sub-set. Say for instance, he had made a section with all the parameters to track his fitness progress, in line with his ultimate goal to prepare for an military obstacle competition in a few months time. The parameters even included the weather that was most likely to occur on competition day, among other things like the most likely type of obstacles that would be fielded, number of likely participants, the type of shoes he would need for the ground conditions, his daily caloric intake leading towards competition day, improving the time he needed to make a two hundred metre dash and last, but not the slightest least, the duration of sleep he was logging in everyday for maximum recovery.

He had absolute clarity.

He knew exactly what to do. He could finally make sense of all the information that flew at him everyday in the form of calls, emails, articles, videos, books and socializing. It made things, going forwards more interesting as well, as compared to how a majority of people across the world felt on a daily basis, a sense of overwhelm and helplessness at the sheer volume of information that was available at the touch or click on a screen.

He couldn’t wait to get started. Especially the part about her.

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