I used to collect a lot. Albums, books, movies, comics, games. I had boxes of the stuff. As I moved out for college, I realized I literally did not have enough room in my dorm to hold half of my belongings. The rational mind would simply have donated and gotten rid of most of it. I rented a storage space.
When I moved into my first apartment, I had the same problem, except this time I had the space to keep everything, albeit in storage closets in large Rubbermaid containers. I spent more time moving those boxes than I did my actual furniture and clothes. One day, about a year or so ago, I discovered minimalism as a lifestyle. At first, I was really apprehensive to the idea. However, over time, I grew open to the idea, and even more slowly, I found ways to cut back on what I owned.
See, the problem wasn't the physical space. The problem was the mental space all this junk took up. Now, I don't mean "junk" in the sense that these items weren't of worth to me. They were. But I had to find out how to live my life in such a way as I didn't have to think about them all the time. Some of it was easy (music simply goes on my hard drive, and I have a streaming service for my phone so I can access all of my music anywhere), but some of it was very difficult (but that book is a first print!). I am no where near the end of the tunnel, but my life has certainly gotten simpler and easier to manage.
The main question of someone doing this(don't worry, as usual, I'll get to BI), is simply "Why?" It wasn't that my stuff was immovable. I've moved multiple times in the past 5 or so years and I've dealt with the stuff pretty easily. It wasn't that my wife wanted me to get rid of all of the junk. It wasn't that I didn't have the space to store it all. It was simply that there, in the back of my mind, I knew that there were boxes and boxes of books and games and comics and movies that I'd never read, watch or play again. I kept saying I would, but I never did. This held me back. If I ever wanted to engage in a new hobby, or go to the movies, there was this nagging voice that kept asking why I didn't just get that old stuff out and use it. Now that those stacks of boxes are gone (most of them donated), I have found myself free. I can try new things, participate in other activities without this nagging, and embrace and make room in my life for the hobbies and activities I want.
When we look at our operations from a high-level view, it's easy to get lost in the pages and pages and screens and screens of data. We can get so caught up in just having that information available to us, that we forget why we have it. In my case, I realized that I didn't want those things themselves, I wanted the experience I had with them. In business, we don't want the data, we want the information. We need the things that allow us to let our operation grow. That's the whole point of BI and visibility. When we get too caught up in the information, we can lose sight of that.
We're at an interesting point in human growth, we are positively inundated with information. Social media, smartphones, tablets, email. The internet has given us access to the whole sum of human knowledge, and it's only a few key presses away, or right in our pockets. While it's incredible that it exists, as a people, we're still adjusting to it.
The point of BI isn't to just show you every little detail that you could possibly think of at any moment. Certainly, it's capable of doing those things, but the goal is to get you information. Information you can act on. Instead of being bogged down with minutiae, we need to view our BI tools as the overview. The simple, "What's wrong and what's right?" of our operation. If we need more data afterwards, perhaps to see why something is wrong, or why something isn't working right, then BI can help us do that too. But the urge to be surrounded with information by default is a strong one, and one we should avoid.
When we're steeped in data, we can lose sight of the important things. We "can't see the forest for the trees" as it were. We are too wrapped up in constant data streams that we miss the arising problems, the potential growth, and our upcoming needs. We can have too much data. In this case, more is actually less. We're involved too much in "how much" and not enough in the "why."
Let's start to look for what will bring us the most growth for the least interference.
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