I have been wanting to write this very first post of mine on LinkedIn for a while now and given the actual context it seems like a proper moment, especially since my classes have been suspended this week and I happen to have a bit more free time on my hands (doing something useful with this free time is the only thing on our hands that I wish it would be contagious at the moment).
Probably we have all asked ourselves at some point in our lives: “What is the shortest way to success?” or “Are there any shortcuts to success?” and except maybe for the lucky few who have encountered Luck or Chance on their journey, most of us realised on our own that success doesn’t happen overnight (even though we are inundated with this message, we don’t seem to understand it until we experience it).
As a matter of fact, reading Viktor E. Frankl’s magnificent book, Man’s Search for Meaning, I came across his wise words that I would like to quote here:
Being successful on social media is something that again, most of us are aspiring to. Because it feels good, because it makes us look cool, because it leads to business in some cases and it promotes our personal brand. I get that. Buuut, it has to happen quick, because we ain’t got no time to lose, we need gratification and we need it NOW!
So, seeing how many people choose to get attention on the social media channels made me think of a conversation I’ve had a while back with my friend Mihnea Gheorghiu from Publicis Milan for my Podcast, Silviu Tolu Podcast Show, when he said something that really stuck to me to this day:
“It’s easier to find friends (by) hating the same thing than it is (by) loving the same thing.”
Which sparks this culture of hate. Have you noticed how many people get together when some individual “speaks up” by saying mean things about another person, or pointing out her weaknesses or what he/she has done wrong instead of having a kind word about him or her? How many hits will your video get if you praise or share the work of a friend or colleague (some will suspect you are doing a sponsored post or trying to promote something) and how many hits do the posts where people are making fun (or worse, mocking) other people get?
I have at least half a dozen examples of individuals who made a TV Career out of this or who became Internet celebrities doing just that, laughing at others and their followers think that they are cool and courageous for having the guts to say it (mind you, I am not speaking about stand-up comedy here, nor do I make any reference to the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien etc – we are presumably smart enough to distinguish humor from what I am describing, even though there is a thin line).
Why not create content around the things we love?
Oh, but that doesn’t get you likes and followers in the short run. So why not sacrifice your integrity, your humanity, your ethics for a little bit of social gratification that pumps up your self-esteem (artificially) for a moment? Let me ask you: what would you be left with if that SM channel would go away in a blink of an eye when least expected?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that if you have something to communicate about the interaction with a brand (customer service), or a product that you purchased you shouldn’t do it if it’s a negative experience. No, you should to it politely and with the purpose of improving it for your sake and for the others’, not in order to “destroy” that particular brand. I’ll give you a quick example: my fiancée signaled on Instagram the repeated purchase of rotten avocados to a chain of supermarkets back home, they got back to her saying that they are sorry and that they are going to look into it and surprisingly enough, finding bad avocado hasn’t occurred as frequently after this.
We all make mistakes, we all have a struggle and the sooner we become aware of this, the better.
To conclude, I would like to touch on the issue of improper racial comments aimed at some nationalities since the frenzy with this Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus). There is a situation we are facing and at this point is useless to spend energy trying to put the blame on someone – we would be better off doing whatever we can to prevent its spread and to know what to do on a general level. It’s easy to complain, I’ve had plans that got canceled as I’m sure most have, but we must understand that we should all get ready to take a hit – smaller or bigger and that we can’t control the virus, but we can control how we react to it. So let’s do it decently, humanly, and in a way that highlights our qualities, not our imperfections.
Because if hatred is the shortest path to success, do you really want to take it?
Stay healthy, take care and most importantly, be kind.
By the way, I post non-hating stuff on my Instagram @silviu.tolu