Is it incredible or is it terrifying?
They say we live in the information age. It’s everywhere; accessible to us in the gentle press of our thumbs on a phone screen, in the way we let our eyes scan the text of an article, in the news bulletin that interrupts the stream of music on our car radio.
It’s powerful, that’s for sure. Influential. It has the ability to shape our worldview; to dictate the way we treat, interact with and stand up to other people, to rationalise the reasoning behind every decision we make and every action we take.
Yet it’s controlled by us and not controlled by us in equal measure. It’s who we choose to follow on Twitter. It’s which news channel we choose to watch or which tv series we choose to binge watch on netflix. It’s the books we choose to read and the people we choose to surround ourselves with. It’s the readiness with which we accept what we are told.
That’s a lot of choices. But being aware that we can make those choices is just as important as making them. We can choose to be as limited or as diverse as we want.
And it goes for any topic, any industry, any aspect of life. I guess the danger of it is more apparent than ever before because of the 24/7 politics (I say politics but it’s really just a game of who can stir up the strongest feelings) presented to us at the moment. The reason I think it’s dangerous is because information that isn’t fact is presented as fact. Anyone can make themselves sound like an expert if they use language effectively, especially if they are in a position of influence. Of course we’re all going to have differing opinions on differing subjects, but again, knowing where those opinions come from is probably more important than what they actually are. We shouldn’t be able to differ in our versions of the facts.
The most important choice we can make, I think, is choosing where our influences come from. It’s like when I don’t write a blog for a little while. If I make myself read a book I’ve been meaning to read, or watch a video I’ve had saved on facebook, or catch up with a person I haven’t spoken to… suddenly I remember the person that I want to be. Or at the very least, the knowledge that I can do more than whatever I’m currently doing, or do it in a more effective way. It might have nothing to do with a blog. For some people it might be being more productive at work, or showing more gratitude to a partner, or remembering why you like helping people get the best out of themselves.
I think we all need those little reminders that getting comfortable right where we are isn’t really enough. Staying still often means going backwards, and taking ourselves to that place of growth might require slightly more effort than it should. But finding the people; the inspiration; whoever or whatever gets you there… it’s worth going out of your way to look for that. Trust me.