A good friend of mine is really great at making illustrations. She has her special way of playing with simple lines and curves, transforming them into interesting stories. I keep telling her that she should put her art out there – may be have her own Instagram page, it’s not so difficult these days, right? But she laughs it off saying she doesn’t stand a chance among so many great artists.
Another brilliant friend is amazing with beauty and makeup products. She has a good sense of colors and really knows how to balance them together. I ask her to consider helping others out there with her product reviews and suggestions on wearing different looks. She too just smiles it off saying that there are already so many experts out there who do this so perfectly with their vlogs.
My list of such friends is quite long and I am pretty sure you have similar people around you too, who are so special at something that you wish they took it more seriously and confidently. But they shy away.
In fact, you might have a special hobby of your own. The one you just love working on without ever feeling tired. One which your friends keep pushing you for, to give more time to and share with everyone else but you just keep brushing it off lightly.
So, you want everyone to just hop onto the social media bandwagon?
No, it is not about jumping onto social media. It has to do with working more on things that you are good at, more wholeheartedly embracing the skill that you are great at and taking it to the next level.
And what exactly is the next level?
Scrolling through the work of other people on their picture-perfect social media pages, garnished with all the shares, likesand comments, leaves us a notch insecure about our own abilities. Don't you agree? It makes us believe that our work could never be that great, that even the best of our posts wouldn’t be able to get so many likes and shares. And this is how we, so naively, limit our own potential.
Next level, my friend, is getting rid of this insecurity.
Because all those pages you follow today in awe had to go through the same starting point. Their creators are the same human beings like you and I are. And the great work they post on their pages isn’t accomplished in a snap of magical fingers. Each one of their perfect pieces has hours and hours of behind-the-scene effort, which we don’t get to see. What you and I like and share and comment on is the finished work and we should never ignore that each and every piece of work requires hands-on toiling and endless redoing till it is finally ready to be shared with the world. Sounds very similar to the way you work, right? Right!
Don’t worry about the response you get. Fret not about the stats. Instead, just focus on putting your heart in the effort. The high you get by finishing that piece which you so wanted to work on is what matters most – this is what nourishes your soul, this is what makes you who you are, this is your trophy, not those social media metrics.
Own your strengths. Use them with all the little inspirations that life brings your way. Be grateful.
Remember Steve Job’s commencement speech back in 2005 at Stanford? Here are some of his words on similar lines:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Hmm, so we should feel confident about whatever we do…
Would you rather play the lazy critic who just scrolls through the timelines on their phone, liking or ignoring other’s posts while failing to muster the courage to work on their own dreams? Reminds me of Theodor Roosevelt’s speech – an immensely significant piece of work. Here’s a selection from what he had to say:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat…