What work are you doing that you are proud of?
“There is no human being I can name who can point to a body of work on Twitter and say ‘I am proud of that.’ That means all that time was spent not building a body of work you were proud of and we ought to be doing that. There’s never been a better time to have an idea. There’s never been a better time to be a writer, a singer, a speaker, a podcaster. There’s never been a better time to figure out how to help people than right now, but instead we spend an hour watching cat videos.”
Recently, I found myself involved in multiple debates on social media. These were situations where I posted an article, a video, or a meme of a political nature and, in the comments section of my post, an argument ensued. Often, I was not even part of the argument, but I was a witness to it. This gave me pause and caused me to reflect. Is it worth it? Is it worth the time, the energy, and the conflict to be intentionally, or unintentionally, divisive on social media? Life is hard enough already, and we are disconnected enough from each other, from compassion and empathy for each other, that we do not need more things dividing us, especially on social media platforms that are specifically designed to do so, in order to keep our attention and feed the advertisers.
What if I resisted temptation? What if opted not for instant notification-gratification and instead put my time and effort into something I was proud of, something that will (or won’t) pay off in the future? What if I invested in a creative project, something I am proud of and that my child can look at someday and be proud of, instead of in driving someone else’s political, financial, or personal agenda forward? What if I double-down on my creative passions, my writing, my martial art practice, and developing both myself and those around me as leaders? What if I gave more time and attention to my wife and my daughter? Our time is limited and it is shorter than we imagine. Do something worth doing. Make something worth making.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Kogen Dojo