4 Statistics That Will Change Your Entire Life Perspective

Life can feel meaningless, but these stats will change that mindset.

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Mothers from the Piraha community don’t know how many children they have. Do you know why? Because their language doesn't have any numbers. While English and other languages have words like one, two, ten, and a billion, they just have words that roughly translate to few, some and many.

Meaning, if you give them a basket full of 15 apples and another with 13 apples, they literally won’t be able to differentiate between the two. To them, both baskets have many apples. They’re probably the only community on earth without any numeracy. And they do just fine without numbers.


However, the fact that they don’t have any numbers also means that they’ll never be able to build skyscrapers or electrical devices. Such complex feats require the use of numbers. The fact that our languages have numbers is what ultimately enables me to write this on a laptop and you, to read on your device.

Without numbers, humanity would never have reached where it is today. Skyscrapers, aeroplanes, and the internet would have been entities we couldn’t have even imagined. Numbers have given us a lot in the physical world. And yet, there are some numbers that may provide us with amazing perspective shifts as well.


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Here are 4 statistics that will change your entire life perspective:

1. 23,849 days of your life will be boring

The global average life expectancy in 2019 was 72.6 years. Taking 365 days for each of those years, the average person will live about 26,499 days. If we assume that about 10% of those days will be special days — which, let’s face it, is a bit overambitious — 23,849 days of your life will be absolutely boring. They’ll be mundane and uneventful. They’ll be days you will forget.

We’re kind of obsessed with accumulating special days. We think we need to accomplish our huge goals and have many special days in life to be happy. However, we fail to realise that these special days are unbelievably transient and quicker than we can recognise. The high will shrink, and we’ll be back to our boring days.


This is the principle of the Hedonic Treadmill. The hedonic treadmill is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. The special days are fun to have. But they’re rare and hence cannot serve our day-to-day happiness. For that, we’ve to learn how to extract joy from our boring days.

In one of his articlesNiklas Göke shares something similar that struck a deep chord with me. He says more than chasing those special days; life is about learning to love the boring days. In an article on Psychology Today, even Dr Nancy says that not learning to find happiness in little things is what robs us of joy.

But how do you learn to love the boring days? Niklas offers a beautiful perspective shift. He says, to be happy, rather than chasing highs, we’ll be better off if we cultivate an aversion to misery. “Long-term, everyday happiness lies in not being miserable.”, he says.

For him, each day when he’s not sick, not stressed, and there’s no drama, is a good day. In essence, he has psychologically upgraded all his neutral days into good days. Isn’t that a great shift? And that’s something we should all practice in our lives as well. If nothing goes wrong in our day, instead of labelling it as a boring and neutral day, we can mark it as a good and happy day.


2. 7.8 billion people exist on this planet

There are 7.8 billion people on this planet. Seven-point-eight billion! 7,800,000,000. If you decide to count to that number at the speed of one count per second, it will take you over 2,473 years to get there. And that’s assuming you don’t sleep and you know, don’t die at least 31 times. (Yes, I did a lot of math.)

Let the immensity of that number wash over you for a second. And then ask yourself — is it really fair that we compare ourselves to 7.8 billion people in this world? In the name of success, being the best at something in the world is often romanticised. And don’t get me wrong; each one of us does have the potential to be the best at something in the world. But do we really need to be?

Is it fair that we’re running a race with 7.8 billion other runners and winning the rat race is the only way to be happy? It’s quite apparent that this kind of thinking guarantees happiness only for a handful of people at the top. But maybe there is a much better way to look at it. On his website, Zat Rana says —

"I’m not competing with anyone else for a shiny object, because I’d rather compete with myself. Freedom is mostly an inside job, and it’s about becoming so uniquely different that it would be an insult for me to measure myself against someone else."


Becoming so uniquely different that it would be an insult for me to measure myself against someone else. Wow. That blew my mind and liberated me in a way that nothing ever did. Comparison is the thief of joy. And we’ll all be better off if we stop doing it. So let’s try to build lives that are so unique that it stops making sense to compare them with others. If we’re all able to adopt Zat’s perspective, we’ll be able to stop being competitors and be dropouts instead.

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3. The universe is 13.8 billion years old

That’s how old the universe is. And I’ve been in this universe for 21 years. So I’ve been in this universe for around 1.521 x 10*-9th of the age of the universe. I won’t even try to comprehend the immense nothingness of that number. It’s futile. Or is it?

A few days ago, I read about something called the awe walks. Since the 2000s, psychologists have been trying to understand the science of awe. In an article on Psychology Today, Dr Bryan defines awe as — An overwhelming, self-transcendent sense of wonder and reverence in which you feel a part of something that is vast, larger than you, and that transcends your understanding of the world.


Awe is essentially a state where you realise the massiveness of the universe. It’s when you realise how incredibly beautiful existence is. It’s the feeling you have when you try to find the end of the ocean, only to realise that it goes beyond the horizon. It’s when you try to quantify the stars of the night sky, only to realise the futility of that task.

“One of the key features of awe is that it promotes what we call ‘small self’,” says Dr Virginia Strum. In a state of awe, we realise how we’re so trivial and unimportant to the universe. That we’re only a speck of dust. Yet paradoxically, as studies show, awe states boost emotional well-being. It’s because, for a second, we displace ourselves from the centre of the universe and realise that we’re a part of something incomprehensibly bigger than us.

So, start and/or end your day trying to induce awe states. You can visit a nearby park and drool over the intricate beauty of the greens. Or you can stare into the night sky trying to find Orion or perhaps, the Gemini brothers. Whatever your outlet may be, induce awe states for yourself on a regular basis. Your stress levels would go down, and you’ll have higher emotional well-being.

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4. The probability of you being born is 1 in 400 trillion

You may have heard about this in Mel Robbin’s Tedx talk, or perhaps in one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos. It’s an estimate by scientists on a human’s probability of being born: 1 in 400 trillion. That’s another incomprehensible number on this list.

And while there’s some conversation going on on the adequacy of this number, nobody can deny the fact that the probability of a human being born is ridiculously low. This means that you sir/ma’am are nothing short of a miracle. Here’s another way to think about it. The universe was heavily biased for you and me to have taken birth as human beings on this planet.

And if the universe was so biased to have us be born, don't you think the least we can do is be biased towards happiness? I mean, not to be all poetic but, it’s so wonderful to be alive, isn’t it? “If you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.” — says the lyrics of one of my favourite songs, Youth. Certainly, it makes all the sense in the world to be biased towards happiness.


And here’s a formula that I think enables us to build a nice happiness bias for ourselves — Gratefulness + Optimism + Amor Fati.

  • Gratefulness: It’s no secret that gratefulness leads to happiness. Because when you focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong, you generate happiness.
  • Optimism: Again, it’s no secret that optimism leads to happiness. When you believe in a better future, your happiness elevates.
  • Amor Fati: This is a concept by Nietzsche. Amor Fati is the love of fate — whether it is good or bad. You obviously love the good. But what if the future turns out to be bad? What if your optimism fails you? Amor Fati implores us to develop a love for bad fate also. Because we cannot control everything, and to despise bad fate will steal us of joy. This is why we must try to make peace and at the same time, might as well try to develop a love for the bad fate too.

Focus on the good in the present. Hope for the best in the future. Make peace with the future and fall in love with it even if doesn’t turn out to be as you hoped. Voila! There you have it — a nice and cosy happiness bias for yourself. And obviously, your happiness bias will not work always. But life is not about perfection anyway. It’s about trying. And that’s what we have to do.

I never thought I’d be able to find meaning and lessons in numbers. And now I see how even numbers can offer us some perspective shifts. Here are 4 such numbers:

  • In your lifetime, about 23,849 days will be boring and uneventful. Special days are amazing, but they are — by definition — rare. Special days won’t be able to serve your day-to-day happiness. For that, we have to learn to exploit happiness out of our boring days.
  • There are 7.8 billion people on this planet. It’s really not fair for us to try to be better than each of those. Instead, let’s try to build such unique lives that comparison stops making sense. Instead of being competitors, let’s be dropouts and run our own unique races instead.
  • The universe is 13.8 billion years old. We’re a ridiculously tiny part of existence. And while it’s true that we’re the centre of our own universe, it’s helpful to step off from the centre position from time to time. Inducing a state of awe for the universe and realising that we’re a part of something much bigger than ourselves will help boost our emotional well-being.
  • The odds of you becoming a human being are about 1 to 400 trillion. You, my friend, are nothing short of a miracle. And since the universe was pretty biased to let you be born as a human, it’s only fair that you try to be biased towards happiness as well. I mean, what other choice do you have?

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.