Social media has undeniably introduced drastic changes to our modern-day lifestyle ever since its inception, and with the instant proliferation of expiring content across most major online platforms in the last few years, we’ve become subjected to an even larger stream of personal updates about the lives of other people in our surrounding.
And given that social media users are naturally more inclined to share strictly positive updates about their lives, from academic achievements to professional successes, many millennials have come to develop a flawed perception of themselves as ‘unsuccessful’ by comparison, which threatens to be detrimental to both their psychological wellbeing and productivity.
What is even sadder (and eventually more dangerous) about this reality is the fact that it is often an unconscious mechanism that slowly messes up our assessment of the notion of success in general and our personal success in particular.
Feel like you’re falling into the trap? It’s time to take action.
Reconsider your comparisons. Particularity is a prime factor that is often disregarded in the day-to-day course of casual comparisons. But once you begin to understand it, a lot will change in the way you assess success. In other words, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is definitely not your best reference (he is the sheer exception) but the friend you went to college with at the same time and graduated along with the same degree after four years of doing the same assignments for the same set of classes is not a valid reference either! Embrace the uniqueness of your journey before you initiate unfounded comparisons!
Understand that things are not always what they seem. Yes, social media is a great tool for channeling reality, yet fractions of reality may very well culminate into (and often are) a massively overindulgent alteration of reality. It’s as if the world if split into two tracks: a social media version of events where everything is glitz and glam and a real-life unfolding of events where glam is often traded for a massive load of insecurities, struggles and misery. Don’t be fooled by appearances.
Trade jealousy for inspiration. Let’s face it, no matter how much we’re in peace with ourselves, sometimes we can’t help but feel jealous of other people’s achievements, especially those close to us or whom we share similar interests/career paths with. And given that such feelings are often out of control, the best we can do is not dwell on them but rather try to be inspired from relevant cases and simply disregard mere posers.
Do not feel compelled to tag along. If a large majority of your social media circles has got into the habit of sharing every single parcel of achievement in the course of their existence, then this doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to do the same. Focus on little, trackable pillars of personal success (because that’s what success is all about at the end of the day!) and let go of the constant urge to frame your life appealingly to the Internet.
Be in peace with your scale. Finally, the best strategy on the long run is for you to devise your own evaluation scale, based on your personal goals and aspirations, independently from what other people deem to be ‘impressive’ or ‘successful’. This in itself is not only a sign of maturity, but also a subtle and profound manifestation of success!