How do I feel about listener statistics?

My podcast host recently made a change to listener statistics to include partial listens, in addition to full listens. If I so desire, I can go down the rabbit hole of seeing how many partial listens were in the first few seconds, 25%, 50%, or 75-99%.

For the data-obsessed, like myself, this is fantastic information. I can make some highly educated guesses about where people lost interest and whether or not I am producing compelling enough episodes that people want to finish.

The fascinating thing about listener statistics, whether total or partial, is the story I end up telling myself about what these numbers mean.
When the numbers are what I deem “positive,” my self-talk gives me a metaphorical pat on the back. When they skew in the negative direction, the story quickly shifts to a tragedy. “I suck and people finally realize it,” I whisper to myself.

But could there be another way to approach the interpretation of listener statistics?

When the only number I had access to was full listens, I felt compelled to maintain the status quo. The more I looked at and explored the partial listens, the more I noticed a curious feeling emerge: a desire to shake things up and experiment with new creative ideas. Not to prove myself, but to have more fun, express my thoughts more boldly, and see what the show could become.

What story will you tell yourself as you explore the statistics attached to your creative projects?