Every time I scroll a newsfeed or Instagram, I am hit almost immediately with the temptation to compare. Aside from these platforms being designed for addictive use, they also perpetuate a me-centric comparison culture. Even if you’re a “self-less” person who just wants to cheer your friends and family on by endorsing their content, you will inevitably run into comparison. But this article isn’t about the comparison trap. Have you ever approached a post from a posture of, “do I measure up to this individual’s current highlight?” This is toxic and not helpful to you. Being the self-serving, self-centered humans that we are (we all are, it’s biological), it can induce a sense of guilt or subconscious shame with the person in the mirror.
It is fun to observe your friends’ life highlight reels on social media, and I do it too. But rest assured in one fact. You are NOT behind. You are NOT late. There is no template for life that you missed out on. Everyone’s journey is unique, and embracing your life’s uncertain process is important. Fully accepting that certainty is a complete illusion is not only empowering, but it allows you to stop focusing on yourself and worrying if you measure up. It’s in our nature as humans to compare ourselves, it’s inevitably going to happen sometimes. However…
I realize as I write this article, that many people probably reading it likely have Facebook open in another tab. Go ahead and close it; I promise I won’t go anywhere. Closed? Great. Moderation as you approach these platforms is important. I wasn’t kidding earlier when I said that companies e.g. Facebook literally hires people to make their platform as addictive as possible. There are people sitting around all day trying to hack YOUR human brain’s psychology and influence how you experience your world. Does that not make you mad? Or creep you out? It does me. Addiction isn’t the topic of this post, but I want to be clear about this, as many people have shame attached to their attachment to social media. It may not be your “fault”, although, you have control over your decisions so it is your responsibility. Control your attention or Facebook’s artificial intelligence will use your Facebook experience as an experiment.. actually that already is occurring.
The next time you see a post from your 27 year old high school friend sharing an adorable picture of one of their 12 children, don’t assume you’re behind. You’re right where you are currently for a reason. Many people are ready for a wedding, but not ready for marriage. Many people are ready for kids, but not ready to be selfless and give up everything for them.
Please realize the state of the internet, social media, online businesses.. all of this is still brand new. Don’t view these opportunities as ships that have sailed and are long gone. It is all incredibly new, technologically young, and just starting to change the way we live our lives. Don’t believe me?
Not because you had to wait 5 minutes for AOL Instant messenger to boot up, but because you know that the time we are living through is a new kind of revolution. It’s a new economy. Don’t like it? TOO BAD. Facts hurt. Adapt or lose. It’s that simple. Big companies are still having trouble accepting this. That is why you see companies like Sears, Kmart, and Boarders Books going out of business. Remember those? I thought so. As uncomfortable as it feels, remain willing to adapt.
One story I like sharing is the “that’s dumb and stupid” story. Remember the first year Facebook was made available for all to use? Remember Myspace? Remember how dumb you thought Facebook was? Welp.
Next we’ll look at the first couple years Instagram came out. Remember how some people were disinterested and dismissive about these apps? Twitter? “oh that’s stupid..”, they’d say. Than, like clockwork, 4 years later you get a friend request from them. Time always wins people over. To no fault of these individuals, many probably didn’t “feel like” learning new platforms. No big deal. But I am pointing to people who said, “that’s stupid”, and later joined the ranks of everyone else. The world will not adapt around your preferences. To be annoyed at others’ entrepreneurial success because they were early adopters of successful platforms/ tech, is to give yourself no credit.
The reason I share this story: these opportunities are still so new. Don’t get discouraged thinking, “I’m too late, I’ll never gain traction, etc.” as this is simply not true. Think about how the most popular tech and platforms are constantly innovating. They’re always changing and adding new features. Almost monthly. Think your videos don’t stand a chance? Things like pro-sumer drones, cameras, and video software are now better and cheaper than ever before. As recent as this year. So just because someone else started something years ago, doesn’t matter. They shot that video in 360p which is borderline unbearable to watch in 2018.
“Beliefs are powerful mechanisms that drive action, whether true or not.” – M.J. Demarco
You are not late in business. You are not behind in life. See what is unfolding in front of us, and learn to adapt. Learn to be humble. Seek out true industry leaders. Be a practitioner. Learn. Create. Grow. Be consistent. The way society does ‘anything’ is changing every single day. Accept the fact that you will never ‘arrive’ and that thriving in business and in life will require you to show up every day willing to put in work. Putting in the work, putting in the work, putting in the work. Be careful. Don’t get “romantic” (stuck) with one method and become attached to your approach. Our brains biologically like the easiest routes because they build fatty “insulation” around your neurons called myelin sheaths that facilitate relaying brain signals. It is important to get comfortable being uncomfortable and blaze new neural trails that lead you to a more fulfilling life.
Many people are willing to change the oil in their cars to keep it running, wouldn’t you agree? Why are so few willing to treat their mind the same way. I’m not suggesting one disregards his or her values. Some information in your mind, not all, is inevitably outdated. Constantly change the oil by learning, reading, and executing.
Remember, if you don’t like your current situation, whether that be your living quarters, your business getting too controlling of your time, it is your ethical duty to take full responsibility for it. If your business has become too demanding of you and you feel helpless, you have the will power and free will to improve yourself, your situation, and your life. This in turn ensures that you are meeting your moral obligation to show up as your best possible self.
All those leaders, companies, and people we admire have not “arrived”. They are out there in the arena NOW. They are going through it, NOW. They may have written a book about part of their life, but they aren’t done. They are striving NOW. These companies, this revolution, and new economy are changing and adapting NOW, as you read this. It is happening. Press on, don’t be intimidated, and remember, Never compare your beginning, to someone else’s middle.