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The Power of Numbers: How Numbers Control You!

Updated on February 25, 2016

Have you ever wondered why it is very possible for something that does not even ‘exist’ in the real sense of the word to control you? How can this very thing be so powerful that we are almost helpless to its influence? How did this very thing even come about? And how did we get to this place?

I know I’ve raised a lot of questions already and I might have set your mind on skidding. You are now like: well, what is this thing you think I’m talking about?

Don’t look further. Stop thinking and listen to me now. I am talking about numbers and in no distant time, I’m going to show you how numbers control you—me—and all of us!

Are you ready?

Okay, this is how you may have have been playin' slave to numbers since time immemorial!


Picture this scenario. The influence of numbers can be so felt when it comes to pricing. The price of a particular commodity can make you develop instant like or hatred for that very product.

Are you in any doubts?

Don’t be.

Price can have such a great influence on you. It can make you decide to buy instantly. And it can make you decide not to. In fact, a slight change in price may be all that is needed to influence your decision to buy or not to buy.

Ask yourself this, why price something $2.99 rather than $3!

You see...?

Prices can also influence you into buying a fake or substandard product thinking you are getting a good deal.


Of course, the price is a commodity has a direct impact on the perceived 'value' attached to that very product.

Alright. Now, imagine if I’m in the position to influence price of a product you really want to buy. If I jack the price up, what will you do assuming you really need that product? Most likely, you may start grumbling but secretly hoping the prices should drop.

And should the prices drop?

Of course, chances are, you going to start rushing to buy it—again—assuming you really needed it!

Think of Black Friday. Rebates. Discounts. Coupons. And the rest of them. What do you really think they are all about?

Yes. Look at it any way you will like to but the fact remains that it’s just numbers going up or down.

And you reacting to this movement as expected—knowingly or unknowingly!

Exchange rate

Similar to pricing effects, the exchange rate is another area where numbers again are controlling and deciding what we do next because it seems everything that goes on in a country’s economy is tied to this exchange rate of a thing.

But come to think of right now, what exactly is this exchange rate? How is it determined? And what purpose does it actually serve?

Your guess is as good as mine because if the truth must be told, I don’t have any idea what exchange rater really means.

The official exchange rate of the Japanese Yen to Naira is ¥1/N1.75 as at time of writing this. Furthermore, the official exchange rate of US Dollars to naira is $1/N199.02

So going by these numbers, what this suggests is that the US economy is by far much stronger than Nigerian economy and the Nigerian economy and Japanese economy is almost at par.

But in the real sense, this is not so because the Japanese economy is also far much stronger than the Nigerian economy.

So what is really happening?

Well, maybe I’m at a loss simply because I must confess, as a student, I was never on top of my class in Economics in high school.


All I know is that when the exchange rate of the US Dollar to the Nigerian Naira which I am using increases, its ripple effect is felt greatly amongst many people.

No wonder, when you go to the market to make a purchase, a woman who is selling banana will tell you that the increase in price (of banana) is because of the rise in dollar i.e. the exchange rate.

Now the Nigerian government is even trying to ‘fix’ a workable price for the dollar such that the prices of goods will not skyrocket but I’m still sitting here wondering: whaddafück is this exchange rate of a thing?

Well, it's not like I'm complaining though.

Because, even though I have stated that I don't really understand the exchange rate and how it works exactly, I think I’m still a beneficiary of this exchange rate of a thing whenever Google pays me through AdSense and the small amount of Euros get converted to a very high amount of Naira in my bank account at the end of the day!



Age is nothing but just a number. I believe you must have heard that statement previously so many times, right?

But let’s think of it now, is age really just a number or is there another insight that we can deduce from it?

Why is so much significance attached to age? We do we have legal age to drink? Legal age to drive? Legal age to earn money? Even legal age to have sәx?!

Oh wow!

But I’m still asking this question: what exactly is the significance of age to so many things we do?

Does it presuppose that the number of days one have spent on this planet have got any direct influence on the ‘amount’ of experience they may have acquired?

So if this argument should hold, does it imply that the older one is; the wiser he is supposed to be?

But in reality, you will agree with that that it is not usually the case.

Age determines seniority which defaults to leadership in certain societies. But if you look at it closely, it's still numbers we are talking about.

Then why is it so significant even though it’s just ‘supposed’ to be a number? Why does age determine (some) things we can or cannot do?

Any ideas?

I don't LIKE what you said!
I don't LIKE what you said!

Facebook likes and Twitter re-tweets

This is mostly for those whose take social media so serious so if you know you don’t even social media means, then I'm sure what I’m going to say doesn’t really concern you, okay?


In social media world and for social media fanatics, things like Facebook likes and twitter re-tweets, number of followers, number of page views, number of comments, YouTube views, etc, mean a lot of things to different people.

For those of us, who don’t really care, Facebook and twitter re-tweets are not anything serious but generally, most especially for those who really do care for such things, it could be such a morale booster when such persons who feel they depend on the validation they get from the feeling that people do like or react to their opinions not minding that—if you look at it closely—they are just responding to the numbers controlling them.

It's time to pay the bills again...
It's time to pay the bills again...


Aha! This is the most significant area where numbers have come to play a significant role in our lives as humans and people on this planet.

Permit me to ask you this question: what is the most significant difference between a rich person and a poor person? I don’t know about you but if you throw that question to me, I will tell you it’s just the numbers!

Simple and short.

The rich people have more ‘numbers’ in their ‘bank accounts’. When people say they want to earn more money, although they won’t see it that way but the truth is that they are asking for more numbers, actually.

Hence, the power of numbers on us.

Now here’s the deal.

Assuming I have the power to reprogram the numbers in your bank account, such that I can decided to increase or decrease it at will, do you know how much I would have been able to control your mood, your entire well-being, your essence, your total existence, and in fact—for many of us who are still struggling—the very one reason why we are still struggling and waking up every day to continue to try and see how we can make our lives better?

Think about it.

Do you need a handicap?
Do you need a handicap? | Source

In Sports Bәtting

As someone who is into sports bәtting, I know the influence that numbers can have on a dedicated puntәrs psyche.

Basically, the business of sports bәtting is all about trading numbers, or rather trading options, if you want to sound professional, with the view of making some profits—that is money (notice it’s still the same numbers?)—should events go your way as you predicted.

It’s as simple as that.

But therein lies the problem. As a dedicated puntәr, when you see a game that ‘looks’ good, chances are, you will be tempted to quickly place your stakes so that you can earn more.

It’s not your fault anyway. We always want more. You are getting addicted in the process but it doesn’t really matter, does it?

But one thing ALWAYS goes on at the back of my mind anytime I want to place a trade. I always find myself asking myself this very question: what if these bookmakәrs have purposely decided to fool us the puntәrs either by inflating or deflating the figures they have presented for the games just for the purpose of manipulating you into making that decision to instantly place the trade or not?

Or maybe, they won’t be so foolish to be tempted to do so because they are also in the game for the money, I guess?

Or maybe, we all are just being controlled by the numbers again?!

Who knows…

What time is it again, please?
What time is it again, please? | Source


How I wish I could set back the hands of clock. I would have done this. I wouldn’t have done this. I could have gone there. I couldn’t have gone there. And so on and so forth…

This is one of the most wishful thinking many people have opined. I think you could one of such people too.

Time just like money, is one of priciest resource we can have at our disposal. No surprising then that both are just numbers.

Or are they?

I don’t think so.

You see, people have come to connect a lot of things with time. People are penalized for coming to an event late. People are always reminded that time flies. People are mocked for not achieving significant things on time. People are praised for beating time. People are always wishing they had more time.

But what exactly is this time?

You see, I don’t know about you but to me, time is just an idea which can be translated into numbers. Nothing else.

I could remember the story of one man who normally comes to events late. A perpetual latecomer, he is. One day, he came to an event late. But knowing that there’s going to be a backlash for coming late, he quickly reset his time before entering then venue.

When he was now asked why he came late, he feigned his innocence and told them that he had meticulously taken the pains to make sure wasn’t late for that event by keeping to time. They scoffed at him for saying that and asked him to check his watch. He checked and lo and behold, it turns out he was not late again!

So imagine this scenario.

If I have the ability to alter your sense of this idea in your mind, chances are, a lot of damages may occur. But then again, who knows, I could also use this same ability of altering time to make you feel better?

Or don’t you think so?


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    • Digital MD profile image

      LM Gutierrez 

      2 years ago

      Interesting hub! I've read a similar books- written by Dan Ariely. Depicting how irrational decisions are made due to society's notions and marketing statistics.


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