We are way too self-involved most of the time. Now stay with me and keep reading, I will explain. Have you ever been in a conversation and find yourself thinking out your next response rather than listening to what is being said by the person you are talking to? I know I have done it before. Here is my take on one reason this happens. Our egos are stroked by social media which tends to be very self-indulgent in its design and allows us to build giant shrines to ourselves. We are deeply hurt when others make any kind of inference that we may be something other than a rock star. People are actually developing psychological issues connected to their self-image and based on “likes” and “follows” from their sea of faceless fans on social media.
I would say, can you imagine people who get all their value from the feedback of random strangers, except I think most of us know people caught in the trap. We all have a friend who is incapable of doing anything without “checking in” or taking a selfie to post. People who report their entire lives to their “followers” because they have a lot of “friends.” I personally take issue with Facebook for grotesquely distorting our concept and understanding of what the word “friend” means. They may have perverted the actual concept beyond reprieve.
I enjoy some of Gary Vaynerchuk’s work and his passion for what he does; he is a visionary in social media marketing. If you are not familiar with his work it is easy enough to check him out, he is everywhere. He is a huge fan of the concept of trying to add value and give it away for free. It is a very unique approach that he helped pioneer in the last decade. But he also tells people to document, not focus on creating. This has contributed to a flood of meaningless content with lots of random people vlogging and thinking they should have a million followers because they crap solid gold with every word and move. They are documenting instead of creating, which works if you are super interesting and high speed, but for most people it is just meh. End rant.
Like it or not this age is here to stay, our world is not going to become any less digital. The big question is, how do we become less self-absorbed and practice a little more humility while staying grounded?
Gary Vee, as he is known, also provides and answer in this case, so I will suggest 2 possibilities for you to consider.
1. Gary Vee tells people to stop making selfish content and if you are making content based on what you want versus what your audience needs or wants, then it is selfish content. Coupled with his concept of documenting, instead of creating; this could lead to interesting places. If you are focused on creating to provide value to someone, then you must live a life focused on helping people to provide value in your documentation. This could lead to just living a better life, but it does not solve the self-indulgence of being the focus for other people. It also firmly makes your self-esteem based on other’s reception of what you are producing.
2. Invest in Self. It might sound counter-intuitive since we are trying to be less self-absorbed, but it is not. By investing in self, you can build self-esteem by increasing your value in your own eyes. If you know you bring value because of the skills or knowledge you have, then you are less likely to need other’s approval. Believing in yourself frees you from needing gratification based on others. Gratification from others is only needed if you do not have a positive self-esteem. If you see your own value, then you do not need to seek gratification from others. If you see your own value then you can be sure of yourself and listen to other people’s thoughts because you do not have to worry about your response being good in a conversation. You know it will be already. You can create content if you want and know it adds value because you add value. If no one ever sees it, it is ok because you know it added value.
This second approach solves all the issues at hand. We believe in incremental growth every day at The Fallible Man. Continually growing adds value to you, which lets you be a better man and add value to the world around you. Choose to invest in self, learn something new, get better at something or improve yourself in some way every day. You will not be reliant on other people’s perception of you and you will not need other people’s approval, because you are confident in who you are. Being confident in who you are adds value and is freeing from the shackles of random opinions. Pick a solution and go for it!
Be better tomorrow because of what you do today!