After watching the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, I felt an immense self inflicted pressure to delete all social media and start living my life as a monk, which I did for a week. I realised how problematic the documentary was(more on it later), but on the other hand, my addiction to social media didn’t budge at all. So I came up with something opposite of leaving social media- Posting every day on Instagram for 30 days, around the same time. Even though it seems very much simple, it wasn’t.
If you have been active on Instagram for some time you’ll know how much fuss everyone makes about this satanic thing called “Algorithm”. Post at this particular time, use these hashtags, tag these people, make everyone comment on your post, make them share it, pay for it to show up on explore page, sacrifice a goat, bathe with its blood, offer your prayers to the “Algorithm Gods”, etc. And if you’ve done this all right then maybe, maybe you’ll get the desired likes and comments on your post, along with the instant dopamine release and you’ll feel validated, for like 3 seconds. And then you got to do it all over again and again as this impulsive-dopamine-junkies that we all are.
All this mess had not only made me conscious of posting on Instagram but also I started to fear it. I cared a little too much about the number of likes and followers and less about why I used to post on Instagram in the first place. I used to take hours before posting a single picture, overthinking, trying to make it perfect and growing my reach and even after doing all those lists of tasks I mentioned before, I would end up disappointed (I think its because I skipped the goat part). This further resulted in comparison, jealousy, insecurity, anxiety, you name it. That’s not how I wanted to use social media. I wanted to use social media to have my small community, to find like-minded people, make new friends, share my thoughts and my artwork. I don’t know how my mindset became all about business, reach, influencers, sponsors, money, etc. I already have a fulltime job and social media is not supposed to be, or even I want it to be my additional fulltime job. That’s the reason why I always felt burned out and as if I’m not doing enough. This needed to change. So I conducted a little experiment about posting every day on Instagram for 30 days. It seemed like a bizarre option, to be honest, but I had nothing to lose. And here’s what I learned:
- Action is greater than overthinking : The only thing keeping you from achieving 90% of your goals in overthinking. Sometimes you just have to tell your brain to shut up and start doing stuff even though you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to start somewhere. Put the perfection in a trash can where it belongs and as Nike says- Just do it!
- Stop caring about what other people like : It’s so easy to focus on what other people like and in doing that we are already moving away from our expression. To be able to genuinely deliver something without any idea, without any expectation, without wanting to impress the other person, it takes real courage. It’s quite difficult. But at the end of the day, there’s guaranteed at least one person is happy and at peace- You.
- Consistency is the key : You can’t wait to be motivated or to be inspired to do certain stuff. If I worked out only after coming across a fitness video on the internet, then I’d be working out like once a month. And if I workout once a month I cannot complain about losing breathe by walking for 10 mins. When you do something every day you get good at it, and people start to notice it, and that’s how you get the results. That’s also how you train your mind to think less and do more.
- Planning will save you a lot of time : Breaking down your goal into tiny tasks, and planning them accordingly, saves a lot of time. And you don’t have to waste your time about making trivial decisions, and you won’t end up procrastinating.
- You decide your success : I can either be disappointed by the number of likes a picture get or I can be completely happy with the fact that I took a pretty picture and wrote something on own.
- Your inner critic is a mean jerk, who needs to learn compassion : If my friends accomplished even a tiny bit of achievement I’m always cheering up for them, praising them, supporting them, giving them a good constructive criticism about how to do it better, I’ll help them out and so on. And when it comes to me I put all these qualities into a dumpster. Anyway, I’m still learning how to be nice to myself, its a huge process but I’m getting there.
To summarize everything, Perfection = Overthinking and Overthinking = Self-destruction. The only way to get rid of Perfection is Action.
About my Instagram, lots of people unfollowed and followed me over the 30 days, so the number is almost the same. Few of my posts did well without me intentionally doing anything. But the most important part is- I am not anymore afraid of posting, neither do I care about the numbers on my page, or even being active. I no longer create content for Instagram, I create it for me. So that’s something.
So I guess it was a quite successful experiment, I learned a lot. It makes me want to do more experiments. Life’s pretty boring right now, you know, with the ongoing apocalypse and all.