“The Secret to Achieving Your Goals?
Don’t Share Them” — or so they say.
Two years ago, I wrote “2014: The Year of the Ego”
Two years later… there’s not much to show for it.
It’s interesting… the feeling I get when recognizing that second sentence, let alone writing it and reading it back to myself. Two whole years, and not much to show for it — in terms of physical health and personal goals.
That’s not to say the past two years haven’t been good. They’ve been beyond amazing! I went to Burning Man, made amazing friends, got married, and gained a newfound focus through treating my ADHD with Vyvanse.
You could say 2015 has been really good to me… when it’s been good.
A lot of bad has happened as well… not just to me personally, but to the world around me. I feel a moral obligation to share those not-so-awesome stories, such as police brutality, injustices in society, etc – to raise awareness… on Facebook.
But then… the conversation halts. No dialog… No engagement… Silence…
Heck — you may have felt it the moment the tone of this got a tad serious…
We all have… it’s that feeling of awkwardness… of being unable to relate…
This is the epitome of “stigma” — the root cause of our global empathy epidemic.
Stigma is a very strong, oppressing, controlling thing, that limits conversation, engagement, and constructive dialog around important issues we all face.
Two years ago I wrote that I was going to focus inward, on myself, my health, my goals. Now, two years later, as I hop on Medium to write my last post of 2015, I rediscovered and reread my 2014: The Year of the Ego post.
I wasn’t planning on sharing that I’ve failed for two years strong. I was planning on listing out all of the goals, ideas, and dreams I have for 2016.
But after rereading what I wrote 2 years ago… it reminded me that I shouldn’t share my goals, but rather my struggles, process, and results.
I reminded myself of something really important…
By being open, honest, and transparent about the struggles I face when working towards my goals, others may relate, and potentially learn from my mistakes and successes alike.
But even that comes with a stigma.
The judging nature of our society lends itself to be a perpetuator of stigma. We naturally judge based on what we’ve experienced, learned, or observed.
So when we are open, honest, and transparent, we naturally feel vulnerable, and predisposed to scrutiny and criticism. This should not oppress us.
It’s only natural to feel predisposed to scrutiny and criticism when becoming vulnerable. It’s this same uncomfort that was felt by women who fought for their suffrage. The stigma silently oppressed women into submission to not speak out about not having the right to vote. This same uncomfort was felt by the black community, and their right to vote. The same is felt by gays every time they come out to their judgemental parents or friends. The modern day equivalent can be felt by any marijuana activist, looking for people to sign their clipboard.
Stigma is why Facebook has implemented so many funnels and filters for viewing content: to appease to our naturally-judgemental selves, by allowing us to subscribe to the realities we want to see… and unsubscribe to the realities we don’t wish to face.
On Facebook, what we share already gets funneled through a pipeline into the faces of everyone we connect with — family, friends, colleagues… and they all have the ability to filter what they see from who — just as we can filter who-sees-what when we post.
How exactly does this improve our connectivity and empathy?
We’re already directly plugged into all of our friends’ lives so much that “catching up” is simply a click away.
Can you remember a time when catching up required an actual interactive phone call, a text message, an instant message on AIM, an e-mail, a letter, or even…
-gasp- … a visit?
I’m guilty of all of these things — as many of you are, too. By being open, honest, and transparent about the struggles we face when working towards our goals, others can relate, and maybe not feel so bad when they, too, feel this way. We have to recognize Facebook as an enhancement to our social life, not a replacement.
I fell into the trap of convenience and comfort, knowing my friends were a click away. This coming year… the connections I make with my friends will have to be interactive, literal ones. It will force me out of the habit of clicking versus contacting.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have openly talked about how she had three miscarriages. They talk about the stigma surrounding miscarriages. The stigma is formed due to misunderstandings that miscarriages are somehow the parents fault.
Think about it… we still live in a world where people think miscarriages are the parent’s fault.
Yet we’re “progressive” enough, as a society, to finally recognize gay marriage across all of the states — or maybe it’s that we’re naive enough to even consider calling that being progressive.
Humanity, as a whole, is progressive in the sense that we are consistently having breakthroughs in technology, innovation, science, and medicine.
It’s as if our brains grew up, while our hearts shrunk down.
Our society as a whole is as complex as we are as individuals.
Society’s construct is just a magnified view our individual constructs.
For instance, naturally we hang out with like minded individuals.
Over time, like minds gather in like areas.
This is how races, religions, and species, along with trends, genres, and colors are formed. Grouping like with like.
In order to change society, we must change ourselves individually. That’s it.
For a long time society was “under control” and oppressed.
Strict laws kept society in check, for the most part. People did as they were told, they believed in a religion because they felt they had to — or they would burn in hell… forever. Theocracy ruled and oppressed the people far beyond how it does now.
Then one day the idea of a Free World was imagined. Then, it was discovered — and America was born.
Since then, and even way before that, this idea of freedom has motivated great minds to make discoveries that – in one way or another – benefit mankind. But it was by questioning the status-quo, and looking beyond just what we know, that we’re able to shift the focus of our perspective from things we are comfortable with, know, and understand — to entertain a thought that otherwise would go against “how things are”.
Free, open, and shared thought.
Costly, closed, and personal thought.
My absence in 2016 from Facebook is simply a catalyst to redirect the energies I’m currently putting towards sharing things on Facebook to building my website, and building back friendships that I let Facebook define a majority of for far too long. 2016 is a year of growth, discovery, perseverance, and motivation through my new found focus.
Instead of simply sharing my goals, I’ll be sharing my processes, my plans, my ideas, my viewpoints, and more, on sjf.me — so if you’re interested in things I post, or just want to keep up with your digital stalking quota, be sure to visit my site from time to time, and see what’s new!
Happy New Year — and see you all (on Facebook) in 2017!
I am always available to all of my friends — 1.330.808.7470 or Scott@sjf.me