Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly bombarded with messages from the World around you. Media, movies, advertisements, entertainment, etc.
Our culture is noisy and the messages are relentless. Some of the classic messages address our views on money, power, and love.
Money = Security (have you seen how many ads there are for financial advice?)
Power = Control (have you seen the ferocity of our political environment?)
Love = Emotion (have you seen a single episode of the Bachelor? Strangers falling in love all over the place)
I grew up with these messages and honestly they have been around long before I showed up on the scene. However, there are some new messages being shared to my generation and the next.
Activity = Achievement
“If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” has been replaced with “If you do something but don’t share it on social media, did you actually do it?”
Our culture is teaching us to derive a lot of short term satisfaction from the approval of the masses at the expense of our presence in the present.
Political Disagreement = Disdain
I am politically Conservative. I have friends that are not. Do we hate each other? No.
If you turn on the media for a nanosecond or hop on Twitter for a minute then you would think that we should. I understand the media needs to generate interest, but the polarization as a result of generating interest is infecting our society.
Digital = Social
A couple of quick questions:
- How many friends do you have?
- How many of those people would help you in an emergency?
The answer to question #2 is probably a more accurate representation of the answer to question #1.
We ARE more connected now, but I am not sure our digital connections translate to real relationship. BUT I think the world is telling us that they do. Hence our struggles on the social media front. We surrender the “here and now” for the “there and then”. I don’t think that is a wise tradeoff.
I have spent all this time identifying the messages the world tells us but the title of this is What the World Won’t Tell You. Here are a few truths correcting the messages above –
Money = Tradeoffs
You CAN make a lot of money if you pursue it. You just have to be willing to give up other facets of your life in order to do so. What are you willing to lose in your pursuit of money? Is it time, your health, your integrity? Life is all about tradeoffs and this is never more true than when it comes to money.
Power = Temporary
Nobody stays at the top forever and the illusion of control through power fades away when you realize this. Political winds change direction often, businesses rise and fall, leaders are replaced in short order. Pursuing power is like chasing the wind.
Love = Hard Work
Emotions are great, but they can never form the basis of Love. Don’t believe me? Think back to your first relational/emotional experience growing up. Okay, now fast forward to today. Do you think that feeling could sustain a marriage, family, and career ALL at the same time? Of course not. (Sadly the often quoted divorce statistics of our nation prove this as well)
Love is only sustained through hard work and the decision to commit regardless of the presence or absence of emotion.
Activity = Habits
What you do repeatedly WILL determine who you become and where you go with your life. This fact is inescapable because we cannot escape our habits. This quote (often repeated in different formats) comes to mind –
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Political Disagreement = American
To disagree politically is to be American. Enjoy it. There are some nations where dissenting opinion can lead to death and we are over here blasting our government on social media with no consequences whatsoever. How awesome is that?
And while we are on this topic: we are not as divided as the media says we are. Don’t fall for that and don’t allow a disagreement to destroy meaningful relationships in your life.
Digital = Distraction
This is an easy one and I will end on it. The next time you are in public, I want you to take a moment to see how many people are looking down at their phones.
We are a distracted people, and our social framework is diminished because of it.
Thanks for reading.