Redefining Success in Digital Times
We cannot live by likes alone…
7:00 AM: The alarm sounds and the first action that precedes running to pee is to look at the notifications of –place here your current favorite social channel-.
7:15 AM: Mails, a few likes here and one heart –tap tap– over there and a breakfast full of superfoods to create the perfect setting in a seemingly enviable morning that tries to avoid a big amount of adult tasks accumulated on the desk.
9:00 AM: A small dose of entertainment (courtesy of the current favorite meme) is always a good idea before the start of you work day, and that’s when you spot -among GIFs of cats- a few ads that ensure immediate success in social media for a ridiculous amount of money. “Get likes and become famous for the price of your daily coffee”. In moments like this, you seriously consider the idea of making a deal with the devil and do your best to become an internet star and have the “dream job” that millennial and postmillennial generations have extolled.
Yes, we are facing an incredible world conversation that allows us not only to be in contact with our loved ones and professional contacts, but also to consume the information in a fast and apparently democratic way. However, the motivations of many people have adapted to the format of the immediate consumption, making us assume that success and good things happen overnight.
Success is in itself a hard concept to define, but the digital environment makes this task a little more complicated among the vortex of content and the tons of heart emojis. Foremost, how have I managed that my digital life does not take control of my real life?
/SOCIAL MEDIA is part of the road, not the goal
It is true that a beautifully curated Instagram account can reflect a value of your work proposal and there is nothing wrong with dedicating time to polish your digital content, but we must not forget that in the end this is just a platform that doesn’t even belong to us.
Social media must be extensions for a project that keeps its central axis in a concept, allowing us to be multidisciplinary in order to adapt ourselves and our projects to changes, digital trends and different apps. Remember when we went from VHS to DVD and nobody knew what to do with all their Disney videocassettes?
/ONE step at a time
Yes, I plead guilty to having seen my feed at the speed of light and I am making an effort to follow only accounts that inspire me, because in recent years our retinas have spoiled and we consume an image in two seconds, when it surely took more than a week to be planned and produced.
We have to understand that from the idea to the result there is more than just one step. In the last months I have decided to adapt my digital clock to my rhythm and priorities, adjusting the content of my blog and social media to my agenda, and prepend quality over quantity. Think that, if you do not have something good to show and you do not post anything today, the world will not end.
/CREATE your own definition of success
While for some people a 1 million followers on Instagram represents the ultimate idea of happiness and for our parents success is achieved with a good salary and a stable job; in the end, each person is able to write a list of priorities and adjust them to personal motivations, work resources and life experiences.
A good start to build a personal definition of success (and not just find it in other people or in a dictionary) is to come to terms with the things that suits you and the things that you want, or asking yourself where you would like to be in 10 years. In fact, this definition of success doesn’t even have to be related to what you do at the office or with a number in your bank account.
/SAY GOOD-BYE to the comparison game
“I wish I was @__________”.
The other day I was talking with friends about how difficult is to live with the idea of success when you compare yourself to the constant appearances of 25-year-old millionaires and 18-year-old entrepreneurs in social media. It has happened to all of us, but let’s not forget that we are only looking at a part of the room through a very small digital window that doesn’t show all the circumstances, including bureaucracy, loans and long hours of hard work.
Social media are also responsible of spreading the idea that a successful job should be synonymous of a themed park like office, between start-ups and sites like Google with cereal bars and a ball pits. If we think that success is only linked to the fun part of work then the world would not work as we know it. Yes, the ability to do what you love is a privilege, but so far nobody has been spared the mistakes and the hard times.
How to stop it? First, recognize that we are falling into the comparative game and second, think that you are looking only at a small part of the window. If nothing works remove that source of comparison and dedicate your digital leisure to people who really inspire you.
Everyday I do the personal exercise of asking myself “What have I learned today?” And if there is an answer, however small, I know that I am fulfilling my own definition of success.
Success is movement, however small, in the right direction. – Ambika Pai