Goodbye 2017, hello 2018 •
As the year comes to an end, I took a few days to reflect on 2017 and set perspective heading into 2018. Here are some numbers — covering a wide range of topics — that never cease to amaze me and will help set (or reset) your perspective:
- 108,000,000,000: It’s estimated there have been 108 billion humans to ever live on Earth. You are 1 of 108,000,000,000. (Source)
- 663,000,000: The number of people on Earth without access to safe water. In places without access to safe water, women and girls spend 6 hours each day collecting water just to survive. Want to help? You can donate to Water.org here.
- 200,000,000: The number of malaria cases each year. But, good news is the malaria mortality rate has decreased 60% over the last two decades! Funding mosquito bed nets is one of the most effective ways to fight malaria. You can donate to the Against Malaria Foundation (and see a bunch of other ways to more effectively donate) at GiveWell.org and GivingWhatWeCan.org.
- 80,000: The number of hours spent working in a typical career. If you spend 6 minutes planning for a 2 hour dinner out, that’s the equivalent of spending 4,000 hours (2 working years) planning for an 80,000 hour career. Want to make a difference with your career and help solve the world’s most pressing problems? Check out 80000hours.org.
- $40,000: Once you get to an individual income of around $40,000, other factors such as health, relationships and a sense of purpose, seem far more important than income. After a certain point, extra income had no relationship with how happy, sad and stressed people felt (Source). The story of the tourist and the fisherman helps here too.
- 4,200: The estimated number of religions on Earth (Source). Turns out picking at least one may be good for your health. According to one study, attending faith-based services 4 times per month (no matter the denomination) adds up to 14 years of life expectancy. (Source)
- 2045: The predicated year of the “Singularity” according to futurist, Ray Kurzweil. He believes this will be the year when Artificial Intelligence (AI) surpasses human beings as the smartest and most capable life form on the planet (Source). “Human life will be irreversibly transformed — this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself.” (Source)
- 960: Roughly the number of waking minutes per day. Or, as Tim Urban from WaitButWhy.com says, you have 100 10-minute blocks each day (Source). Everyone gets 24 hours a day. How do you use yours?
- 300: The number of people in the uncontacted tribe in Brazil who are living like their ancestors did 20,000 years ago. (Source)
- 99.5 – 99.9%: All human beings are 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup. Some newer sources claim 99.5%. (Source)
- 95%: There are a handful of places on Earth, called Blue Zones, where people consistently live the longest (not uncommon for people in these areas to live to be over 100 years old). While they eat some meat and fish, their diets are 95% plant-based.
- 66: This one seems to be hotly debated. 66 is the average number of days it takes to turn an activity into a new habit. Other sources claim it can take 18 to 254 days to create a new habit, depending on the activity. Either way, better start those new year’s resolutions now and make today Day 1! (Source)
- 49%: The percent of the world’s population without internet access. If you’re lucky enough to read this, you’re in the 51%. (Source)
- 27: Here’s a fun one. 27 is the number of years the North Pond Hermit successfully hid from people before being captured in 2013. (Source)
- 5: Ask “Why?” 5 times to get to the root of any problem.
- 1 of every 2: Minutes spent online is on “leisure activities” including social media, video viewing, entertainment/music, and games. Consider reading this a productive minute! (Source). Want to take back control? Here are some tips about digital minimalism.
- 1.4%: The amount of recorded history you may be alive. Recorded history begins around 3,500 BC (5,517 years ago). The average lifespan (in the US) today is about 79 years (Source). Are you ensuring your brief time here is well spent? “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” (Walt Whitman)
- 1: Pale Blue Dot. Even though the photograph taken by the Voyager 1 space probe from 3.7 billion miles away is almost 28 years old, it’s still one of my favorite ways to reset my perspective. Watch the short video below for Carl Sagan’s famous reflections. (Source)
Also published on Medium.