This picture is the perfect representation of one of the thoughts I had in my head today when I walked into the coffee shop to crank out yet another blog post. For the past week I have watched the escalation of the Joe Rogan/Spotify situation and several other egregious examples of things that are an outright defiling of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is hard to stay out of the fight to any degree, as I love Joe Rogan and absolutely believe that each of us should have the autonomy to make our own decisions, express concern and ask for explanations and answers to the world around us.
Here is the thing…I am not going to change anyone’s mind. If someone has taken the time to respond to a comment, post a mash up video of things from ten plus years ago in attempt to disparage another, whatever the example is, I am not going to change their mind my barking back. The fence in this photo represents the “protection” of anonymity that the social media platforms and the internet provide. If the person was standing in front of them, they would say things very differently in many cases. That is what is known as “Twitter muscles”, having the guts to say something solely because you can hide behind your avatar and never have to explain yourself to someone directly. To quote the hardest puncher of all time, Mike Tyson: “People have forgotten what its like to get punched in the face for something they say.” Something to think about, all you keyboard warriors out there…
I used to be guilty of this myself; I would find a reason to blast someone with my opinions about their situation or their thoughts on a subject. I didn’t know the backstory, what that person was dealing with at the time or previously, and yet I thought my opinion was worth projecting onto someone else. The last time I did this was directed towards an MMA fighter that has a track record of getting into trouble. He got drunk at a bar and was accused of hitting an older man after a brief argument. Security footage should this altercation, and the end result was the older gentleman’s head literally bouncing off the concrete after taking a punch from a professional fighter. It was scary to see. And it was easy to jump to the conclusion that once again the fighter was at fault. I hounded him for a couple of days, monitoring his responses in general, although he never responded to me directly. One of his tweets literally was him indicating he was on the verge of suicide, and that is when it hit me that I was going to be at least partially responsible for this person killing themselves because of my unfiltered sharing of my opinions. I abruptly ended this campaign, apologized to him directly (again, no direct response) and have not done anything similar since.
While I want to bark back at all of the people who are advocating for the silencing of someone I am a fan of, I have learned that this serves no purpose for me. I am not going to change someone’s mind through social media, and all I get out of this is the anxiety and frustration of something clearly out of my control. Now, I am not saying that I am going to exit social media and hide away at home until things get better. If necessary, I am willing to hit the streets in peaceful protest to protect the freedoms I have always had the privilege of. I will fight for them tooth and nail if necessary. Don’t get it twisted, I am not a coward that is going to stand on the sidelines and watch basic freedoms or in a larger sense this country deteriorate without taking action. But squabbling over social media with anonymous people from around the planet is no more productive than barking back at a barking dog.
I am a big advocate of energy management, and the above is a great example of something I do not allocate energy to. I can’t, I just don’t have the time or the desire to do so. I have things I am working to accomplish myself, as well as a day job and a position of Head Coach for a little while longer. Even when this run as Head Coach ends, I will simply take that newly gained chunk of time and push it towards productive things like growing my Speaking and Consulting business. I will not waste the time and energy having petty fights with people that seem to have the desire to allocate their time and energy unwisely. Nothing to be gained from this…
I love the meme that has been going around for a bit that basically states the key to happiness is never argue with stupid people. The example given is someone makes a statement like “2+2=5” and wants to stand their ground and argue this. The best way to handle this is to say: “You’re right” and smile and walk away. Why bother? What do you have to gain by arguing with someone who has already made up their mind? This is the approach I take with social media as well. If someone approaches you that is open to a conversation because the two of you have differing opinions, great, take the time to have a civil conversation and see if you can educate one another on the topic you each see differently. This should be the criteria for EVERY conversation you engage into for any length of time.
There is a case to be made for deleting all social media apps in effort to bolster your own happiness, as well as stop watching the mainstream media’s version of the news. The human brain is not set up to deal with everything that is happening around the world all the time. There is plenty of evidence just how much influence Google and the social media platforms use algorithms to not only keep you engaged, but also to control what you see on a regular basis. Are you even sure you are getting the full story on a subject anyway? How can you take such a strong stance on a subject if you only get the story that “they” want you to see? You can’t, and this is something you need to consider deeply.
I am not saying that it is ok to bury your head in the proverbial sand, as you do need to know what is going on around you. But you do not need to know that fireman “rescued” a racoon from a high rise building in downtown St. Paul this morning. EVEN IF YOU LIVE IN ST.PAUL, does this really affect your life in any way whatsoever? No it does not. Even if that fireman was your son or husband, they can tell you about later. Literally no one else on the planet needs to know this. But that is an innocuous example, it is far more psychically damaging to hear about every shooting, deadly car crash, crime against humanity, threat of war, starving child, etc. that is ALWAYS going on around the planet all the time. It is too much, and we are not built to handle this without some serious detrimental side effects.
Kill your TV and limit your time on the social apps. Be sure to insulate yourself from things that are not serving you any real purpose and limit your expose to the thoughts of the rest of the world. Live your life, keep your eye on what is going on in your immediate surroundings, and work on making YOUR WORLD as happy a place as it can be. Ignore the barking dogs, take a different path around the block if necessary, but don’t bother wasting time and energy on the things that don’t really impact you. Be smart, you have only so much time and energy each day, don’t waste it on crap that will yield zero positive results.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.