don’t do it for the vine

do it for yourself.

Nothing makes me more angry than people who justify all sorts of disturbing behavior with short, pop culture phrases à la “YOLO” and “do it for the vine.” For this post, we’re going to focus on the latter, and how it is the embodiment of depression, lack of achievement, and powerlessness.

“do it for the vine” is related to the concept of an external locus of control because you are effectively outsourcing your motivation. When you “do something for the vine,” you’re doing it for your vine followers, not for yourself. You are relinquishing control of your motivations to others approval, and in doing so, you focus on what is outside the scope of your control.

As a society, we have become so attached to the idea of external locus of control that we bow down to it each and everyday. Social media has made this submission not only the norm but also a metric that others can and will judge you by. I’m talking about social validation, and it’s something that everyone craves to varying degrees. While social validation is great, the landscape of our generation’s interaction with technology creates an atmosphere where we become good at all the wrong things.

Sometimes what your peers approve of is not who you are or what you want to be doing, and that’s a problem because if you want to pursue other interests like can-can dancing or yodeling, you can’t get that warm gooey feeling that makes you feel like the inside of a freshly-made s’more. Or can you?

No, I don’t think you can, and that’s why so many people opt for the social validation route. It’s easy; it feels good; and everyone else is doing it. (hey, that sounds like sex).

Alas : do not what is easy but what is right

Cultivating a strong internal locus of control is the best thing you can do for yourself. ever. So do it.

Heres why:

  1. you’ll be unhappy if you don’t
  2. you’ll achieve nothing if you don’t
  3. you’ll end up learning to develop it at some point in the future anyway

There is a caveat though, which is that if your interests just happen to align with the interests and validation of your peers and the world, then go for it. You have a real opportunity to spit in my face — but you can only do that once you’ve proven me wrong by being both happy and accomplished. The thing is that most of us aren’t like that, yet most of us try to pretend like we are.

People who are externally motivated produce value for others in a way that others demand it.

People who are internally motivated produce value for others in a way that they demand it.

When you produce value the way you define, 2 things happen: you create more value for the people you create value for and you’ll be happier doing it because you’re doing it the way you want to. Both of these things get caught up in a positive feedback loop that lead to more happiness and more achievement.

Ultimately, you’re not going to be able to depend on others’ validation forever. Some people drag it on way late in life — one of my family members still needs kind words to validate his behavior, otherwise he feels under appreciated — but those people are in the minority and cause others discomfort with their needy ways. It’s important to develop the sense that you’re achieving something or doing the right thing, even if someone isn’t there to prod you into feeling good about yourself.

Feel good about yourself no matter what others say — if you deserve it. If you really felt like what you produced was crap, then feel like crap, but if not, don’t wait for others to tell you it’s great.

Live life for you, and you’ll find that you leave others in the dust. Who needs them anyway?

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