Checking out people's Instagrams, finding new blogs, googling new figures of interest - there is an abundance of people we can hope to look up to on the internet.
People who have achieved the things we want to achieve, people who are our peers...people who look like they are living a happy and fulfilling life.
However, while staying inspired brings us joy and refreshment, one could soon realise that he/she is actually diverting a great amount of energy from themselves (and their personal development) and wasting it in a cyber whirlwhind from which such energy can never be retrieved.
Be inspired by others - but understand the fine line between finding inspiration and staying in your own lane.
Balance is always hard to achieve. But self-awareness is the all-powerful step to ultimately achieving such balance. Let's talk about some metrics that can help us assess if we're staying in our own lane, or if we're driving dangerously:
As a content-creator, it's very important that I'm regular, consistent. For consistency to happen, I've got to be wise with my time.
So when we talk about finding online inspiration, we've got to include the time factor.
This is where you have to be quite blunt and honest with yourself:
For all the time you spend browsing other people's pages, how much time do you spending working on yourself, on your brand? If you find that you spend hours on half-a-dozen Instagram pages (your favourites) each day, but you barely have a few minutes at the end to work on your own stuff, then there's a problem.
You shouldn't be giving the best portion of your day to these random accounts while leaving yourself with nothing but a few minutes to scrape something mediocre together, or nothing at all.
You can do better than that. You deserve better than that.
Budget out your 'inspo time' - the time you spend sourcing inspiration from successful people or people you admire. Always make sure that you're not spending more time viewing than you are doing.
Before we dive into the next key point, let's talk about the benefits of being inspired by others.
There are some days where you just need that extra push. You want and need to see someone in the same boat as you, or someone who has achieved what you want - to validate your struggle or give you hope (and tips!).
Opening up your various social media accounts and seeing your favourite bunch of inspiring individuals can bring a smile to your face. Their smiling face in their aesthetically appealing background can ignite something indescribable in you. When someone writes a caption about something that you can relate to, it can really encourage you - almost like a virtual hug.
But there's a limit to the effects of just watching other people work and hustle. It won't reduce your own to-do list.
On it's own, it won't actually bring you to your goals.
Such inspiration absolutely needs to be paired with your own work ethic. You have to make sure that your output levels match-up with the input levels that are gained through observation.
The output factor is a key factor that we can all monitor for ourselves:
You are only truly staying in your own lane when you can point to what you have been working on. Ideas unfortunately don't count. Everyone has ideas. But the difference between the people you admire and everyday people is that the former stay in their own lane and focus on doing the thing, rather than just talking about hopes and dreams.
It's the brutal truth. But that's what it is - the truth.
Staying in your own lane doesn't mean you have to be perfect. It doesn't mean you've got to have it all figured out.
What is does mean though, is that you make progress week after week, month after month, year after year, and so on...
...something that you just won't see if you're only ever looking at inspiration but never being that inspiration yourself.
It takes discipline. But staying in your own lane brings an untold amount of happiness to those who do. There's something both comforting and invaluable about putting your head down and giving your vision your all.
Take a break to breathe and relax every now and then. But don't forget to create those sacred moments where you hear only your own thoughts and not the noise of others or the Internet.
As a wise person once said, "get your head in the game."
At some point you've got to get up from the sidelines where you were watching, put your vest on, get in that 100% concentration mode, and aim for the net.
You've got to be that Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps.
For the major part of your everyday life, are you swimming, or are you staring?
An a pro-swimmer wouldn't lift their head upright from the water to take a good look at the swimmers in adjacent lanes at any point.
They would never even think about it.
View your life in the same way.
Focus. Stay in your own lane. Move forward.
Related: The Biggest Myths About Creativity
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