Create your own path.
More and more, I fear the increasingly dangerous ways we escape to living a life through someone else’s experiences. All of us are guilty of flipping through an endless stream of photos on social media, only to pick our heads up and realize that hours have passed. Our pursuit of inspiration quickly turned into a game of comparison and a feeling that we aren’t doing enough with our lives. Ironically, the response is to keep mindlessly scrolling.
I once heard Scott Belsky give a talk based on his book “Making Ideas Happen”. He mentioned a term during his presentation that has stuck with me to this day and continues to serve as a jolt to my own productivity — like a flick to the back of the ear.
From a business sense, he spoke to the incessant desire many of us have to check analytics, sales figures, or growth metrics for our work. To these minute (and often untimely) activities, he dubbed the term insecurity work, plainly stating the underlying reason for why we want to see the results rolling in, our own insecurity. The point he argued was to say that if we spent all of the energy we typically exerted in constantly checking analytics to the actual accomplishment of the goals we seek, that our results would be far better.
I think of social media in this same way. We all are at risk of sitting back and watching a handful of great photographers on Instagram lead (what seems to be) an exciting and adventurous life, while our own opportunities subtly slip beyond our grasp.
As with nearly everything I write, I put this here as much as a reminder to myself as I do to any of you who may resonate with this point. I welcome your thoughts, ideas and tips to avoid such pitfalls as well.
Start living your own story.