We often think of the Internet as this bastion of chaos with which we try to divulge order and meaning from. It’s a plethora of things - the single largest and most easily-accessible library the world has ever seen, a hateful hemisphere of brave keyboard-warriors suffocating the world with their intolerable opinions, a means of making your life so disgustingly convenient you begin to hate yourself for your new-found goldfish attention-span and plummeting levels of patience, a melting ground of technological prowess and innovation that improves the world faster than we can possibly hope to keep up with.
It’s given people the power to reach millions, and hundreds of millions, with their niche talents, and develop multi-million dollar careers from the most mundane of things, such as playing video games or casually shooting the shit with your friends on video.
Simultaneously, how can you hope to reach these levels of fame and money, when everywhere you look on the Internet you see a million million other people who do the exact same things as you, and do them better than you, and are probably better looking and more charming than you too.
Who the hell cares that you can paint a beautiful picture of a lake beside a peaceful meadows, there’s a guy who can paint a photo-realistic stereoscopic image of a man chopping wood. You can play the guitar? Well good luck, there’s millions of exceptional guitarists on the Internet, not to mention you can find Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix’s music in seconds, for free. Why in God’s name would someone pay for your mediocre crap?
You think you’re successful? No you’re not, can’t you see those Instagram pictures from impossibly wealthy and beautiful 18 year olds, traveling the world with their pristine photography, sailing across oceans, skydiving, driving Ferrari’s with their hair waving in the wind, drinking Pina Coladas on gorgeous white-sand beaches with their boyfriend who happens to have a 6-pack, as well as a seemingly infinite amount of wealth that seems to just drop into their pockets from thin air, because they certainly don’t work with those kind of lifestyles.
And what the hell are you doing, working in your crappy retail job, aged 24, struggling to finish your final year of college, while these 18 year olds are already living the lives of Saudi princes? What a failure you are, and you should feel miserable about it. And you will, don’t you worry about that, as you consume these staged, mystifying snapshots of the lives people pretend to have.
You never see an Instagram post of someone arguing with their boyfriend, or vomiting after drinking too many of those Pina Coladas, or the majority-days where they simply sit in a hotel room, or eat at a McDonalds, or drink instant coffee while watching Jeremy Kyle.
No, these things never occur. From the perspective of the Internet, these people live the happiest, freest, most fulfilling lives that can be lived on this planet. And you’ll go green with envy and black with despair that this isn’t your life, despite no one living a perfect life.
People have a habit of comparing their lives to those online, and sometimes that has an advantage. Perhaps you should take inspiration from those who are successful online, a certain amount of ambitious jealousy is healthy in everyone, it gives you that spark and the kick up the ass to actually move forward in your life, as opposed to feeling terrible about the tragedy of the world.
However, you cannot just consume the positive aspects of people's lives. Reality television is good in that sense, in that it shows rich and poor people just living their lives, we see the good, and the bad. We can watch Kim Kardashian having petty arguments with her sisters, as well as eating at 5-star restaurants and taking glamorous candids for Vogue.
But don't trust everything you see online, we don't see the tragedy or the troubles of people's lives through Instagram and Snapchat. You shouldn't compare yourself on a fundamental level to these brief glimpses of celebrities' narcissistic episodes.
You should compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
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