With the astounding speed of development and content production in the modern world, we can sometimes feel like unless we’re constantly growing, then we’re going backwards. It can feel like so much effort just to maintain your place and meet the bare minimum standards, let alone trying to excel, improve or move up the ranks in life. Trying to swim against a powerful current, and if we try to rest we will be swept backwards again. We can feel like we’re constantly being left behind and trying to catch up to a world that is running ahead of us. This is the very essence of the Red Queen hypothesis, based on the quote from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. If we ever stop evolving, then we will be overtaken and left to die.
It’s no wonder we feel this way, what with the abundance of information available to us almost immediately. As people, we cannot process this enormous wealth of information fast enough. People get burnt out, overloaded and overwhelmed because our feeble bodies cannot keep up with the rocketing speed of our culture. We simply cannot handle everything thrown at us in the news, on social media, at work, at school, at home, at church. The solution? We cut some of it out. Makes sense right? Reduced income of stressful information = less stress.
Now there is a chance that WE will get thrown out to make room for something better, faster, more attractive, more useful, more efficient, more powerful… There is still a fear of being left behind! Social media is a great example of this. Unless you’re gaining followers, likes, shares, you’re going backwards. Because everyone else is growing and you have to keep up! Because people keep unfollowing things that they deem less than useful to make room for the next thing; more pressing things, more important things, more fun things.
Of course social media is a great way to connect with people you know, meet people with similar interests and share your ideas; but you can have too much of a good thing. Think about it, we keep improving our technology bit by bit to be more efficient. Slimmer phones. Faster processors. More storage. We’re rushing through our lives so quickly, flitting from one idea to the next, trying to maximise… everything! We get obsessed with numbers, I admit to falling into this myself from time to time – looking at country analytics, view counts on posts, likes, clicks and trying to find the best tags that will get me on discover pages.
We are so plugged in and switched on all the time, we feel like we miss so much if we turn our phones off for one day… but how much of that stuff actually matters in the long run? Does it really matter to you, or do you only care because you think you should? Are you worried that you will miss something important and it will mean you’re left out? In reality, we won’t get left behind that quickly. Don’t worry about gaining followers for fear of becoming irrelevant. Don’t employ clickbait-y, fake tactics to get attention. Don’t worry that you won’t get this promotion. Don’t worry if you’ve never been in a relationship.
Life can seem like a challenge just to stay in the same spot – that if you stop hustling for just a second you will be whisked away and never able to catch up again. Don’t get trapped in this mindset! You are always relevant, regardless of whether you have the latest iPhone or if you finished that essay thirty seconds before it was due. Information and trends have an extremely short life span now, so even if you miss a joke or Facebook post at its peak, it isn’t the end of the world. A lot of other people probably missed it too, and those who caught it didn’t get to hold onto it for long anyway. If you lose followers for being inactive on twitter, don’t let it get you down. If it really matters to you, you can get it back. And if you realise it doesn’t really matter to you, then more power to you! Yes life’s conveyor belt might be going backwards, but not nearly as quickly as it might appear. If you’re fighting to stay in the same spot or push forward, good on you! I appreciate how hard you’re working. But don’t be afraid to rest. It does not decrease your worth.