Make Mistakes, Forgive Mistakes.

sunset

Thank you for being interested in my blog and reading this post! It’s the inaugural post and I really appreciate all the encouragement 🙂 🙂

This blog will broadly focus on “The Digital Landscape and Social Media”. My upcoming book “Be A Digital Genius” will also discuss the same topics.

These topics really excite me, I’m very passionate about them and have spent the last few years reading, researching, and experimenting in these areas. A bit about me: I have an MBA, and went on to pursue my Ph.D. in Marketing in a top university in the US, but had to drop out after completing roughly two years of coursework due to severe health issues. My undergrad degree was in physics, and I also possess a Master’s in French!

My interdisciplinary background that I used to be embarrassed about earlier has actually turned into a blessing now – especially when it comes to Social Media since it’s multidimensional. Even though I did not complete my Ph.D., the foundational coursework that I completed equips me with the skills to understand academic research in many fields. Given all this, I think that I’m uniquely qualified to tackle this area with my own distinct perspective. Having said that, I’d like to add that I’m a huge believer in “scientific temper” and openness, and would always welcome any counters, discussions, or differing views. I do not believe that my opinions should be etched in stone.

I would also like to caution you that if you are visiting this blog to learn some fast and easy tactics to make some quick money, it’s not for you! I will certainly discuss specific tactics and give tips often, but the primary aim of the content here is not to make money for you, or me.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, money does not motivate me at all. In fact, I believe that most of the unpleasant things that we witness in this world occur because people consider only economic reasons, and none other. I’m motivated mainly by my curiosity, insatiable love of learning, variety-seeking nature, and by the quest for “truth”. I find it incredibly fun to tackle difficult questions and break them down! I don’t rest until I find either the solution or someone who knows the solution!! You now understand why I love the digital world – because most solutions are found on Google (right?)!! 🙂

That was the general introduction, and now I’ll start with the main content. In reality, I’m very excited and my brain is bursting with ideas and there’s so much to share…. However, to make it somewhat structured and simple, I will focus only on two important ideas today that I think are great to discuss at the beginning. If you want to tap the unlimited power of the Internet and Social Media and use it positively, you absolutely need to follow these two principles, in my perspective. They worked well for me, and the first point is supported extensively by academic research in psychology, while the second point is something that I came up with myself after a bit of “original thinking” 😉 I forget to follow it sometimes myself but since I’ve written it down today, will try my best to do so.

1. Follow Your Passion or dare to “Make Mistakes”.

Unfortunately, most of us have a very restricted view of success and happiness and we don’t dare to cross those frontiers. We think that a high position, or money, or fame, are the only things that matter and we pursue them fervently, only to end up discovering that we’re still not really content or satisfied with life 😦

However, one of the paths that will make you really happy – is dedicating yourself to something that really excites you, feels like fun to you, and that you can do endlessly without ever getting tired. All of us have these passions, each one his own – and when you follow them fearlessly, you’re more likely to achieve those elusive goals like “life satisfaction”, happiness, or contentment.

For example, a few years ago, I discovered that I’m passionate and totally in love with social media – especially Facebook and Twitter. I could spend endless time on them (in a positive way and not by only spying on others’ lives in secret) and never get tired of it. There are several reasons why I found them exciting: I love writing, love clicking photos, love travel, and like I said earlier – learning!! And, social media was an excellent field that complemented and magnified all my passions because I could share my writing, my photos, my travel stories, and my newly learned knowledge on it. All these things are much more fun when shared, and “liked” – right? 🙂 But, you might be wondering how social media fits in with “learning”?!

Yeah, I know it sounds odd, but according to me, social media is the BEST PLACE to learn anything new! I can’t cover that topic in detail today but will do so in a subsequent post, and in more detail in my book. In the last three years, I’ve learnt a great many things (even stuff in the academic zone) in such an easy, rapid, and fun manner, thanks to social media.

Therefore, following my newly discovered passion (social media) despite some criticism (because most people think that you can only waste time on Facebook), actually turned out to be great for me. My travel and other posts, and Facebook blog were well appreciated, and I now have a reasonably huge following. There have been several other benefits psychologically – that I will again discuss specifically in subsequent posts, for the sake of brevity.

To sum up, “Make Mistakes” is great advice because it encourages you to follow your passion even if the whole world thinks it’s a mistake! Sadly, the world is full of people who love to give you stupid advice. They might be doing it in a well-meaning way, but we need to emphasize to them that we’re the kind who love to “Make Mistakes” and don’t give a damn.

2. Forgive Mistakes

Hopefully, now you’re convinced and already thinking of what mistakes to make – it’s a lot of fun, isn’t it? 😉

The second point: I state that it’s absolutely important to learn to “Forgive Mistakes” – especially in this rapidly digitalizing world that’s creating its own new set of problems and challenges. In many ways, this new world – as compared to let us say the world as it was 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, is very starkly different. Whether we like it or not, almost everything we do, we say, or even what we might be just thinking(!!) is being constantly recorded in zillions of data points, second by second, and stored somewhere. Not really sure if the numbers I mentioned are accurate – but you get the general idea. BTW how many zeroes does a “zillion” have??! 🙂

This lack of privacy and constant recording of anything and everything that one does is one of the biggest problems that we’re facing in the digital world today. I read somewhere that even our “TV” is watching us nowadays!! This “being constantly watched” is one of those horrendous negatives that prevents you from harnessing the full power of social media, or daring to “Make Mistakes” (will explain in detail in another post). This negative outcome has caused immense damage to many people, and it’s used regularly by unscrupulous forces to damage others. Nowadays, we seem to have forgotten that “Its human to err, divine to forgive”. And this is leading to many problems like extreme polarization of views, increased susceptibility to Fake News, lots of other kinds of damage, loss, and deep stress.

How does a lack of privacy lead to Fake News – you might be asking? The answer is that nowadays, we don’t see the same news as everyone else – especially on our social media!! Each person’s news feed is customized by mysterious algorithms that are not quite transparent!! Again, this broad problem can be broken down into several specific ones, and I’ll discuss them specifically one by one, in my subsequent posts. Luckily, I believe that science and psychology do possess solutions to these problems. 🙂

Nevertheless, generally speaking, what can we do about this viciousness? We certainly cannot go back in time and undo digitalization – that’s a monumental and almost impossible task. It’s also a very foolish solution because digitalization has several benefits. There are no easy quick fix answers, but I spent some time thinking about this issue and came up with this solution below – tell me what you think about it?

As natives of this strange new digital world – whose beauty and ugliness we have not yet grasped in full, we could solve this problem by just becoming a little more “forgiving”!! For example, if someone you know tweeted, or posted something objectionable on his Facebook ten years ago (could have been in an inebriated state, or being treated at an asylum at that point, whatever…), or maybe even yesterday, don’t hold him responsible for it forever – as long as it’s not murder or a deliberate untruth stated with malicious intent, but only a certain political or world view, or opinion. Be more “tolerant”. Such a simple solution to this problem, and maybe, it could work!

Remember that when zillions of actions, words, tweets, posts, thoughts, etc. are being constantly recorded, it’s impossible for human beings to be perfect at every data point!! Don’t use such obviously faulty judging mechanisms, but try to be more rational, more forgiving, and more tolerant of differing views. If you forgive someone today, someone else will forgive you tomorrow, and the digital world will be a less scary place to live in.

Doing this is especially important in the digitalization context, because people tend to behave more extremely in digital interactions, as compared to face to face interactions. We cannot help it, it’s mostly the context and those wily algorithms that make us behave in this way!! Research has shown that you are less likely to say nasty things or be so irresponsible when you are face to face with another person. Digital context and interactions starkly differ from face to face ones in many ways (another subsequent post).

Thanks to digitalization, there are algorithms working specifically to make you think in extreme terms, act in extreme terms, to prevent you from knowing the whole picture – those evil algorithms!! They do it so that someone is able to make some profits somewhere. However, they cannot harm us if we become human again, even though we’re in a digital world. Stress to yourself that no one can meet such minute expectations of perfection, that people evolve, they learn, and they make mistakes!!

And, hey, making mistakes is a good thing, right? Of course, YES, it undoubtedly is, but only if you also learn to “forgive mistakes”. 🙂 🙂

***********************

References:
* Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2013). Flow: The psychology of happiness: Random House.
* Ho, V. T., Wong, S. S., & Lee, C. H. (2011). A tale of passion: Linking job passion and cognitive engagement to employee work performance. Journal of Management Studies, 48(1), 26-47.
* Baym, N. K. (2015). Personal connections in the digital age. John Wiley & Sons.

Psychology, Social Media

Written by Aparna Rao

I'm a wanderer, writer, poet, photographer and music lover. Love telling stories - especially photo-tales :) :)

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