Tag Archives: narcissism

Why I Stopped Tracking

stoptracking.jpgYes, I did it.
On a crisp Tuesday morning
After 40 measurements a day for 1.5 years
I. Stopped. Tracking.


When I first wrote about my tracking
People thought I was narcissistic

What they didn’t see
The self-punishment
The fear
The hatred behind the tracking

I had stopped trusting myself
Letting the numbers drown out
My intuition
My instincts
I was afraid
Of not being in control                            
Of becoming obese like my genetic predecessors                          
I was addicted
To my iPhone apps
To getting the right numbers
To beating myself up

Each day
My self-worth was tied to the data
One pound heavier this morning?
You’re fat.
2 g too much fat ingested?
You’re out of control.
Skipped a day of running?
You’re lazy.
Didn’t help 10 people today?
You’re selfish.

It felt like being back in school
Less than 100% on an exam?
You’re dumb.

I’m starting to realize
That I need to
Accept myself
That I’m more than the numbers
That I’m beautiful, strong, and super smart

I don’t need data to tell me that
And I don’t need to punish myself anymore

Will I ever track again?

Yes, probably
For a specific goal or experiment
Or to observe a pattern
I’ll try to keep an objective, non-judging eye
But then I’ll stop
When I’ve seen what I needed to see
And learned what I wanted to learn

Like any tool
Self-tracking can be used for benefit or harm

I won’t let it
Be an instrument of self-torture
Any. More.

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Are Self-Trackers Narcissists?

“Are self-trackers narcissists? Results from NPI-16″ at the QS Show&Tell; video by Paul Lundahl.

Are self-trackers narcissists? In the video above, from the recent QS Show&Tell, I report on trying to find an answer. Here I give a quick summary of that talk and a reference link. I decided to run this test because a few weeks ago Alexandra Carmichael made a detailed and helpful report on her self-tracking project. Sandy Lane made the following comment:
DoesItMeasure.pngIt was a fair question, and in the comments thread I proposed answering this question in our own way: with numbers. So in a survey of QS readers I included all the questions from the NPI-16, an instrument to measure narcissism that has been used and tested in psychological assessment research for many years. I go through the details in the talk, but the short answer is no; in our small sample of 37 self-trackers, the mean narcissism scores were almost at the center of the range of mean scores in a set of five large surveys used to validate the NPI-16 against a longer and well-validated measure of narcissism, the NPI-40.

There is a caveat, however. I took the question to mean: do self-trackers have the overweening sense of self typical of narcissists? There are other definitions of narcissism. Many people mean “narcissism” more loosely; more or less as a synonym for “annoying.” If narcissism means annoying, then this test doesn’t resolve the issue.

Reference: The NPI-16 as a short measure of narcissism, Daniel R. Ames, Paul Rose, Cameron P. Anderson, Journal of Research in Personality 40 (2006) 440-450 (PDF)

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QS SHOW&TELL – Tonight!

All hands on deck for the QS Show&Tell tonight – it looks like it will be fun and interesting.


And thanks to everybody who took the QS survey. I know it wasn’t comfortable for many to take this kind of “forced choice” survey, but hopefully it will be worth it and we will learn something. The instrument, which some may have recognized, was the NPI-16, a relatively well-studied measure of narcissism. The research question: Are self-trackers narcissists? Here is a preview graphic: more to come…


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