Recently, I got back from a snowboarding trip with an awesome group of people. This trip was great because I was able to completely shut out the outside world and focus on the here and now.
The moments in front of me were at that time very stressful, but snowboarding game me an extremely enthralling experience.
It was my first time snowboarding, so every moment seemed like do or die. Since I quit my sport of gymnastics when I was 20, I never have been so physically challenged until this trip. Snowboarding brought back those feelings of pure joy and excitement that only physical challenges can.
We can ignore the fact that my group of ten people receive two concussions, one Hematoma rupture, spranged wrists, and ended as a lot of butt hurt individuals, from the snow of course. I am fairly sure we looked like we put purple and black paint all over our bodies by the time we were finished that weekend. To me, there was no better feeling.
21st Century Bubble
I wanted to start with that brief story for a couple of reasons. One, you need to go snowboarding if you never have. And two, I constantly forget how amazing and incredible this world is.
Let me explain.
From 2012 to 2018, I had no social media. Facebook had become so annoying and boring to me in 2012, I decided enough was enough.
My choice was to live life simply without distractions.
Although In mid-2018, the thought of running my own business crept into my mind. This forced me to change some habits. Social media is a necessity for any business.
Over a year later, I have the same feelings from 2012 creeping up on me, social media is a distraction. More so, it distorts the reality we live in. It changes our perspectives, distracts us from living full lives, and puts us in what I am calling, the 21st Century Bubble.
Seriously though, it is bad. Being an observant person, there are times when I will pick up my phone and instinctively click the Facebook or Instagram app with absolutely no purpose or intention. How is this possible?
Social Media Breathing
It is almost as if my body knows it needs to blink, drink water, breathe oxygen, and open Instagram to make sure nothing has changed in the past 2 hours.
My question was:
How is this possible? Why does my body search for distractions and want to be entertained constantly?
Funny enough, entrepreneur and social media guru, Gary Vee, has something to say about this.
Social media does not change you, it only brings to light what insecurities or problems you already had in your psyche. For example, if you are insecure about your weight, you may look at fit people and feel poorly about yourself, but if you are comfortable in your own skin and where you are in life, nothing should bother or effect you no matter what comes up on your feed.-Gary Vee
Obviously, I am paraphrasing, but this is the gist of what he means. Social media brings out our insecurities in ways it never has before.
Gary is a wise man, and has a great following to support this claim. He is constantly opening up to people and trying to bridge the gap between just talking about doing something and doing something.
Although, what does this answer about social media mean about myself? Let’s dig into my brain a bit.
Several years ago when I had no social media, my ex-girlfriend would open up hers in front of me all the time. I remember her being consumed with it.
I remember her feeling judged because of some girls perfect body or a “couple goals” photo pretending life was perfect. We all know that these things are not real, but it effected her.
It took me a long time to figure out why. Why did she feel lesser because of an Instagram post?
My Social Experience
Let’s fast forward to December 2019. At this point, I have been using social media apps for over a year. There is an instinctive impulse to open social apps, and I have started to become more active and involved on each platform.
To be honest, I do not feel insecure about viewing anyone’s perfect physical appearance, crazy travel photos, or reading about someone’s drastic political views. Cool story bro.
The things that do make me feel insecure or insignificant is watching some 15 year old amass millions of followers. Although, I think this is a decently healthy response to what seems to be a new age phenomenon.
I might get slightly jealous, but In reality, those kids with millions of followers have probably worked their butt off obtaining them. Yea, there were many people that get lucky and go viral or teamed up with a popular person, but in general they spend every moment of their day brain storming, planning out videos, or thinking of ways to be creative and funny. It is their job essentially.
On top of that, they have to figure out a way to effectively monetize this following before it basically disappears. Not as easy as it looks I am sure given the percentage of people that purchase things from social media influencers or ads is way under one percent. Try more like 0.01%.
That means for every 1,000 people your post reaches, you might get 1 person to click on your affiliate link or even approach the idea of buying some merchandise. Those odds are not great, and they even diminish on different platforms where you can not even post affiliate links like Tik Toc. Good luck making money off of your dances.
Social Media Influencer
Thanks for letting me rant on all of that, but as you can see, becoming a social media influencer is difficult, and not always profitable.
As Gary Vee says, you can not just have hustle or smarts or dedication, or a proper business model and expect to be successful. These are just independent pieces of the complete puzzle. You have to have all of these characteristics of an entrepreneur to be successful. If you only have a few of them, you will still fail.
25 Year Old Insecurities
Given all of this thought, I believe my insecurities seem pretty reasonable. I am jealous of opportunities others have, but in a healthy way. I know the work it took to get there, and I respect them for it. Part of me wishes I had more patience and diligence to do the same.
My folks raised me well enough not to understand hard work is necessary to succeed and not to be encapsulated by the 21st Century Bubble. It helps me see past the allure of fame and wealth while understanding money is very important to achieve certain goals in life.
One thing I struggle with most of all that ties me close to the bubble, is the fear of being unaccomplished. Living in the U.S and living in the 21st century, there is a great amount of pressure on us millennials to become success stories.
It is almost as if the American dream of getting a good job, providing for your family, and contributing to society are looked down upon. They are now the minimum for our generation in the eyes of so many.
It seems like if you’re not a doctor, lawyer, or scientist, you damn as well better be some entrepreneur traveling the world and living the good life. Even girls I have dated seem to think money grows on trees and they deserve to lay on the beach all day and never work. Almost as if money grows on tress and the world bows at their command.
The reality of the harsh world we live in seems to be eclipsed by the 21st Century Bubble for some people.
Hard Work and Humility
There is no better cure for a distorted perspective than hard work and humility. Throughout my early life, I was burdened with being overconfident in myself and it hindered my ability to succeed.
The 21st Century Bubble was my home from the ages 13 to probably 19. After those ages, I quickly learned both aspects of hard work and humility. First in the Air Force, and then second through certain life choices. God opened my eyes to greener pastures by walking with my head down so that he could guide my feet.
Every now and then, I still have to remind myself, hard work is the only thing that matters. It does not matter if you have all the money in the world, or none of it.
If you are not working hard then what can God do with you?
You can not buy his favor, and if you do not do the most with what you have now, then he will not bless you with more later on. I truly believe this.
Therefore, if you are struggling with the 21st Century Bubble and comparing yourself to social standards, then work.
Work till you are too tired to impulsively click that phone app. Work until you don’t have enough energy to even worry about someone’s Instagram story.
If you do this long enough, success will find you and before you know it, people will be looking to you asking how you did it.