In today’s rant, I want to open the discussion one of the strongest themes there is online and the evangelical dedication shown towards it. I’ve termed these the “looking out for number one” phrases.
While this phrase can, of course, be placed in numerous contexts, I want to focus on ones that you see abound across social media that encourage you that “you can do anything”, “hustle harder”, “take care of you”, and my personal favourite, the grossly misused term “entrepreneur”.
There can be no doubt that social media has opened a wide array of opportunities to people that either may not have as much of a chance prior to its arrival, or just allowing people with out-of-the-box ideas to find a community that supports them more easily.
However, what it’s also done is push an enormous focus towards selfishness, narcisicism, and hollowness that’s frankly depressing.
The absolute dedication to being wealthy, incredibly fit, and beautiful/handsome has essentially made a bunch of nobodies sudden experts on nutrition, wealth management, modeling, and physical education. And a lot of this has come from the sheer belief of “why not”.
Why can’t I be a model?
Why can’t I be a chef?
Why can’t I be a nutrionist or dietician?
Why can’t I be a health practicioner?
Why can’t I be a finance expert?
This arrogant and ignorant narcisicism is a by-product of perverting a platform that exceeds through it’s ability to make connections with people that want to trust people of “influence”.
People want to believe that there’s an easy out to every situation. They want to believe that physical or mental limits don’t exist. They want to believe that despite their socio-economic status, their level of education, and their level of understanding of complex topics is no boundary to their dreams of being a billionaire doctor model.
And this is what the vast majority of social “influencers” encourage. If you want a full rant on that then you’ll want to read my “The Mirror Which Flatters Not Post“).
Unfortunately, having a platform for many of these influencers is used to peddle absolutely garbage products to an audience that’s willing to accept that laxative-ridden slimming tea will give you six-pack abs, that knowing how to boil vegetables makes you a dietician, and that drinking an energy drink is going to make you go to the gym on a strict routine.
In the age of fake news, it angers me beyond belief that we’re actively reversing medical and scientific fact due to the proliferation of uneducated arrogant assholes that think they know better. And worst of all, they probably don’t give a fuck as long as they’re fiscally benefitting from their online actions.
Online avenues have given more and more people a voice, and opinion and in many cases a platform. Do they use that platform for good? Rarely.
That platform is used to fuel their greed and narcissism. How many likes do I have? How many views, how many blah blah blah. How much do I get paid if I say that your slimming tea is better than the one I flaunted last week? How many free shoes can I get if I post about you? What can I get? What can I get? WHAT CAN I GET?
You get it.
What if these platforms were used for good. What if they were used to promote things that need attention. The only person that needs your latest selfie is you.
When will you use your platform to benefit anyone but you? Well will your posts influence people to engage with charities, volunteering, helping the less-privileged? Sure there’s fantastic and amazing people and organisations out there doing that, but they don’t have the following of an “Instagram model” that posts endless selfies and products that he/she doesn’t care about.
The millennial generation has one helluva world to clean up, and we have a technological benefit that previous generations didn’t have. We can rally people all around the world to causes that fill our newsfeeds – but for the most part, that’s all we do.
A hashtag here, a share there, a retweet when it suits us. What do we actually do to look out for people that are not us? How do we leverage our immense influence to make a better world?
Our greed and our selfishness as earned our world nothing but a hunger for more greed and praise. I mean for christ’s sake, look at the president of the US – the debacle of brexit and the utter disgrace that is Australia’s government.
Money. It’s always money. And for anyone in power it’s “how do I get more of it?!”. The people in power would ruthlessly crush any hurdle that would get them a new car, house or boat or business deal but wouldn’t spend a cent of their millions or billions on solving homelessness, eradicating disease and famine, closing the gender equality gap, achieving actual equality between race, religion, creed, and sexual orientation.
The vast majority of individuals in a position of power don’t do any of this, because it doesn’t benefit them. With all the benefits they’ve experienced in their life – with all the wealth, power and influence, they are still looking out for number one.
The worst thing about this addiction to greed is that it can never be satiated. The head of Amazon is worth something like 150 billion put his staff are on food stamps. A billionaire in the US has spent over 100 million dollars in fundraising to keep the Republican party in control as it protects his business and personal interests. Meanwhile, the wealth gap has never been larger and the poorest citizens have never been as poor.
Having ambition is great. Wanting to do the best you can is also great. Achieving this and not helping the world is disgusting. Stop idolising people that don’t deserve your adoration. A football player that kicks a fucking ball across a field does not deserve a $200 million a year paycheck. The people working to cure disease, the people that are trying to help the world’s homeless and less fortunate, the public systems that need funding to ensure that every citizen has access to healthcare. These are just some of the people that need that money.
If you think being a hard-ass boss that flaunts wealth like a child with a new toy in the playground then you are a waste of potential. You’re craving something that only benefits you. This doesn’t make you a good person. It makes you a cancer to society. It makes you an enemy of the people that have hope that the world will be better soon and that it won’t be absolutely fucked for the next generation.
So, before you jump into or continue your relentless pursuit of money and power, consider this. What do you want to be remembered for? Looking out for one, or looking out for many?