The Epidemic of Indecisiveness
(or what social media has done to our ambition)
I believe I can speak for a majority of 20-somethings when I say this: we have no idea what the hell they want to do with our lives.
This idea is not unique to our generation (I hesitate to refer to this as a ‘problem’ because, well, it isn't.) but has a certain amplification due to our social media presence and consumption.
The constant projection of other people's lives into our subconscious has made us think more about what we could be, rather than what we should be and more importantly, who we already are.
Let’s walk through an example:
As you doom scroll through your Instagram feed, you are overloaded with content that shows a glimpse into the opposite life we are currently living. You see an acquaintance you hardly know posing on the beach, a connection saying how “humbled” they are to announce their new job update, and a Tik-Tok dance on the backdrop of a picture-perfect mansion; and the idea pops into our minds:
“Wow, they are living their best life doing this, that’s what I should do too!”
I know all too well how this indecisiveness battle plays out. You see the successful parts of everyone's life online and believe that is how you will find your own happiness; through someone else's.
Also, to be very clear, I am still struggling with this today. Hell, maybe this article is a projection of this idea. Maybe this will be the only one I ever write. Guess we’ll see. Anway…
Here are three mechanisms that have helped me overcome this comparison and rediscover my own ambitions:
A Social Media Sabbatical
I know, I know, I. Know.
This is the well-overplayed and overemphasized point that everybody makes.
BUT. It’s true.
There is an exhaustive element of always viewing life through a screen, especially when it is not your own. I myself struggle with comparison and have slowly put more boundaries around how I spend time on social media.
I’ve even been testing out a practice of logging out of my social accounts when I am done scrolling; putting an extra step between myself and my feed when I want to return.
Ultimately, the distance you put between yourself and the visualization of others' goals, the more time you can prioritize learning about your own.
Reflection Time (or having a meeting with yourself)
Comparison mostly sits in the present. We see what others are doing and accomplishing at that moment, but know nothing of their past actions or circumstances leading to that point.
I am definitely not advocating for living in the past, but thinking about where you came from, what you’ve accomplished so far, and where you once were in life can really put the now into perspective.
In my own personal practice, I use the term ‘Reflection Time’ (or more sarcastically, having a meeting with myself) as interchangeable with meditation or stillness. I’ve found that this simple act of doing quite literally nothing at all and just remembering past accomplishments have an amazingly positive impact on my mental clarity.
Your past can also be a guidebook to the future. Asking questions like these during this time of stillness can give you a way to think back:
- What decisions in the past made me happy?
- What allowed me to make that decision?
- Where can I find that sense of reassurance?
Look at The Big Picture
Being indescive can often lead to tunnel vision. The paralysis of not being able to decide can leave you feeling stuck.
I find it helpful to back up, zoom out, and look at the big picture.
Look at where you want to be, not where you are. Look at who you want to become, not who you are.
Take a moment to look past yourself and find the people, places, emotions, and actions that make you feel like yourself.
Take the time to think about what we should be and more importantly, who we already are.