Life Logging,Mental Wellbeing

Stop quantifying, start qualifying

24 Apr , 2015  

The whole area of quantified self has exploded in the last 2 years and this is largely due to the mainstream adoption of wearable technology such as devices like Withings and Fitbit.

These small niche companies became so successful at manufacturing their fitness trackers that it became more pervasive and demonstrated that there was a growing interest in the general mainstream population for more devices to help track health.

Bigger companies soon waded into the market place with their unique offerings from Sony to Samsung and now we are on the brink of the Apple Watch release, it’s safe to say that quantified self is here to stay.

For those of you who are perhaps not familiar with the term, essentially quantified self is all about tracking your own data and information for the purpose of improving yourself. That could be simple trackers for steps, calories or various exercises and sports, but more in depth measurements can also be taken for more complex matters like diabetes or high cholesterol etc.

In fact this year will see the launch of many more products aimed at the health sector that will help you to track other aspects of your life to help you make changes and improve your body.

With all this fantastic potential and willingness to self improve, there’s one area that I think is being overlooked and that’s the mind. People are not paying enough attention to their mind, and this is one area which cannot be quantified. It’s clear from news and reports around the world that more and more people are suffering from mental health issues and these may lead to depression or even suicide (as shown by Robin Williams death).

You cannot measure thought, and that’s the hard part of this. Sometimes people regard the diagnosing and fixing of the mind as somewhat of an art form rather than a real science, but that’s where people are wrong. True enough there are many sciences which hope to explain all the curiosities of the mind, from psychology, psychotherapy, cognitive studies, neurobiology etc, but how many of these are truly accessible my the many?

Too often the practitioners of these sciences charge extreme costs to garner their services and that means that a lot of people who need help are left out on the porch trying to fix themselves with their own thoughts.

We think that reflection is a powerful tool, and by considering your own thoughts and life and reflecting is in itself a method which can bring about great change, positivity and realisations in life that can help alleviate mind problems. We call this qualifying the mind or the qualified self.

There are a few explanations of what the Qualified Self might mean and this is my interpretation of it.

Think of it like this, when you are sick or hurt you go see a doctor. Doctors undergo thousands of hours of training and practice just to get their qualifications so that they can practice and by you going to the doctor they can now diagnose your problem and find a suitable solution to fix you. Their qualification provides them with the knowledge to do this.

In the area of our own lives we all have problems whether little or big ones, but how often do we try to diagnose and fix them? We don’t spend enough time qualifying ourselves which is why sometimes long term problems persist and we end up having to go see a specialist about fixing them. If we spent more time understand ourselves, our past and the world that surrounds our own lives, we would be better equipped, or qualified, to realise the solutions to our own problems.

This is the qualified self. This article is all about becoming more qualified and stop obsessing over quantified data, which is good in itself, but is only a small part of the bigger picture of your being and who you are.

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