What You Can Learn From Instagram


@LifeMathMoney (LMM) Tweeted the following;

Your brain was not meant to handle instagram. There's no one who scrolls through Instagram and sees select shots of people having fun and feels good about his life. No one.

This made me think of the Hotels.com commercial where Captain Obvious says "don't hate love their..." and made me wonder how prevalent it is for Instagram pictures to cause negative emotions. I replied to his Tweet that there might be a better way to engage with Instagram so it doesn't cause envy or whatever else he might be referring to. I see similar sentiments about Twitter (on Twitter of course) where some call it a cesspool versus others gushing over how great it is. And who doesn't have a love/hate relationship with Facebook?

LMM has some interesting things to say but every now and then, like anyone else on Twitter, he fires off a couple of duds that don't resonate. In a similar vein, one area of interest for me on Twitter relates to exercise. I follow a handful of people in this context and the way the Twitter algos work I see a few more. While I might be very interested in what these dudes have to say about alternatives to deadlifts or fat adaptation I don't care in the slightest when they feel the need to weigh in on Greta Thunberg. But it all goes with the territory which circles back to an idea I started talking about ages ago which is to take bits of process, or in this case information, to form your own process. Put slightly differently, take what you need and leave what you don't. If you get great information from someone in one of your areas of interest, does what they think about Brexit actually matter to you? I don't know why it would.

Back to Instagram and being envious of other people having fun, this might also be true of Facebook too. Most of who/what I follow are friends, family and topics of interest. If you're on Instagram you probably follow at least a couple of friends who look like they're partying all the time or whatever, I certainly do. In terms of being happy with your life and knowing what is important to you, do you want to party every night? Some adults do, I am not judging, but is that what you want to do? At 53, I have zero interest in doing that. If you do, if that is fun for you that you should do it. I did not have that interest at 33 and at 23, my interest was maybe a night or two per week max.

I have a college friend who I am pretty sure is a C level executive at a mid-large cap public company. He's not CEO or COO but he's up there. He went well past getting a BA/BS and has been successful as a result. It is common to feel envious of someone who appears to be more successful than you but as we have talked about many times here, they either worked harder than you, are smarter than you, are luckier than you or some combo of the three. There is no question my friend worked harder and he might be smarter and luckier, I don't know and it doesn't really matter. Of all the people you know, some of them do workharder than you, are smarter than you, are luckier than you and some less so. In an aggregate like that, it is an easy thing to accept. But harder so when you single one person out and just accept they are more whatever-er than you, just accept it.

Maybe I have been lucky to become aware of these things at a younger age (we are all a product of our experiences) but having my own idea of success and easily defining the lifestyle I aspire to has made just about every aspect of life easier. This might be familiar but if you make enough money to pay the bills, save some for the future and have a little left over for some fun then you're doing pretty well. Another layer is that I equate being able to set your own schedule to freedom as well as being ablebodied to do the things you enjoy to an old age (healthspan). It's not that those things should resonate with you, they are my priorities and figuring out your priorities will make every aspect of your life easier.

One small hack is taking what you need from social media like news or pictures of things you are interested in or want to learn about and leaving the things that cause negativity.