by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
She told me I was a complete douchebag. That I completely lost my mind. That I'm one of the most arrogant people she ever met. OK, I exagerrated a bit here. She actually only told me that she thought I was a douchebag..
She sent me an article on Facebook and told me that I should read it (it wasn't hers though). She is one of my followers and a blogger as well. We also exchanged a few messages on Facebook before.
She was pissed off because I told her that I don't read other people's blog posts or any other article that's being posted online. Especially not from people I don't know personally. Well, for one exception.
I read maybe one or two blogs of my idols. The people I look up to. The people that inspire me.
And even then I mostly only skim the articles.
I try to skip everything else. Every link. Every update. Every tweet. Every video you post. I simply ignore it. I don't care about it.
I also don't read anyone's LinkedIn updates. I don't read your updates (unless you specifically ask me for feedback). I haven't read a single post on Medium. I have watched maybe five TED or TEDx videos. I barely ever watch the news or read the news online.
I only like your Facebook updates so that my updates will show up on your timeline. I don't read or click on them. I just quickly hit the like button. I know that's mean. But that's just how I roll...
I barely ever retweet anyone else's stuff. I only retweet your stuff if it's about me. Why? Here's why!
It's not that I feel I'm the center of the universe (well, occasionally I might). It's that all of this stuff will scare the shit out of you. Out of me.
If I read somene's article, blog post or whatever and it appears on my timeline the probability is quite high that this is one of the best articles that has ever been written.
Let's face it. We only share articles that impress, that are amazingly inspiring, motivational or very, very true. Stuff that struck a cord with us.
We want to impress other people with the stuff we share. We want to share articles that touch our hearts. That touch other people's hearts. And I don't want to read these crazy good articles day in day out.
It will paralyze me. I will feel intimidated. I will be afraid that I might never be able to write as good as this girl. I will never write anything because I feel that I can only hit the publish button if my article is as good as the ones constantly popping up in my newsfeed.
I will feel that my life sucks. That I'm a complete failure for living such a mediocre life. For wasting my time away while other people seem to live life to the fullest. That's the stuff people share.
And what I just described is the way most of us will feel about it from time to time. Sometimes you just can't fight this feeling.
If I'd read what other people post on their timelines I might never have started writing. I might just be way too afraid. That I might not be worth it. I might probably never have started anything.
And then I might hate myself for not starting anything, while others seem to start and experience cool things on a constant basis.
That's the thing about social media that will get you down. That will make your already perfect life look boring. The constant comparison with the pieces people publish online. The good stuff.
But what about all the bad stuff? Where's all the bad stuff?
What about all the bad writers? What about all the people breaking up? What about all the other people living a mediocre life? Where are they?
Let me tell you where they are. They are at home, getting better and better every single day, not reading this stuff, and then one day they will appear on your timeline. Or maybe they won't...
The same holds true for TED talks. Let me tell you something. I watched about 5 TED talks. And every time I watched one of these talks I was intimidated. I thought I might never be as good as these folks.
I had the feeling that this is the only way to go. If you're not good at it right away, you might never be good at it. No matter what. So I tried to copy them. But copying someone else never really works. The only thing that works is authenticity.
The only outfit you should wear day in day out is yourself. It suits you best.
The thing that we usually tend to forget is that all of these people were starters once. I'm a starter. It probably took them many years of constant exercising, failing and getting back up to reach the level they have now. To appear on my timeline. On your timeline.
And that's why I don't watch any of these videos or read any of these blog posts.
They are so crazily good that it scares the shit out of me. So I read books instead. Instead of skimming and flipping from one article to another, which usually only results in a lot of confusion, instead of clarity.
Books help me to see things clearly.
I get the point that they inspire a lot of people. They also inspire me.
But the danger is quite high that you end up in a never ending inspirational loop. That you keep watching this stuff over and over again without ever taking any action.
But even more importantly, it mostly makes you (me!) feel uncomfortable and question my own capabilities. It somehow holds me back instead of really helping me to take action.
That's why I try to ignore the noise and focus on the signal instead...