A Microwave Generation: The Popcorn Effect

Photo by Shawn Fields on Unsplash

By now, if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, or blogged, you’re probably thinking, “oh no! He’s about to complain again, go off about some inherent societal angst, HE’S SUCH BAD VIBES…!” I would want to surprise you, but you’re right., so hold on to your smart phones, because it’s about to be a bumpy read.

For one thing, it’s truly amazing the lengths we would go to as a people and as a generation to seem, “well put together,” that, to me entails having the “perfect” job, the snazziest outfits, squad goals, baecations, the list goes on and on.

But wait a second, could our instaglamorous ideals and strive for perfectionism be what’s truly holding us back and causing us horrendous psychological issues such as depression.

Well, I believe so, Malcolm Gladwell found that in ivy league universities, your Harvard’s etc, the worst performing students, fared extremely well as compared to those in institutions around the country, that is to say, they would be considered as well above average students, they just weren’t shining on the Ivy league spectrum, and so they were dropping out, thinking, “Am just not good enough.”

This implies that because their world revolved around their institution, Ivy League, they compared themselves to the best students and pupils the world possibly has to offer, and because of that, they failed to realise that they themselves were very good students, just not genii…

Are we trapped in the same boat? Social media has made it relatively easy to interact with anyone around the world, celebrities, athletes, movie stars, entrepreneurs, you name them. But could such an interaction have an adverse effect, in terms of how we view ourselves?

I’ve since realized that books with titles such as “How to get rich in 5 easy steps,” and the likes sell like hotcakes, why could this be? I mean, in most cases, gaining wealth is never that simple. Could it be that the idea of instant wealth is so appealing because you don’t have to do all the hard work, thus getting us on “The lives of the rich and famous” much quicker…?

Comparisons are good triggers but poor motivators, I would like to have a body like “The Rock” but without his exact genetic make-up, the resources at his disposal, I could fail dismally in my pursuit of the “Rock” body.

And this is what most of us fail to see, when we see a tech giant, a Mark Zuckerberg, a Steve Bezos and the like, we automatically want to get to where they are, and being absolutely human, take the easiest route to get there. Case in point! “Bezos guide to Ultimate riches.”

In our pursuit however, we completely disregard their hardships, struggles and pains they had to endure, brushing these off as minor setbacks. Therefore, we conclude that setbacks are bad, and victories are good, a dangerous concoction of our own making.

Because once we have this in mind, every stumbling block becomes a sign to stop, every molehill a mountain and every rejection is a signal from “above” that we should stop.

I also believe that this happens because we are so blinded by the lights of social media that we’ve failed to realize what goes on backstage, Beyoncé looks so amazing onstage that she makes her performances seem effortless, “I bet she doesn’t even practice,” she WOKE UP LIKE THIS.

The sad reality of our illusion of the glitz and glamour is that once we fail to achieve our dreams in record time, a first degree by 21, owning a car by 23, being a millionaire by 30…we fall into a deep and dark depression.

“I’m a failure! I am nothing, all my efforts have produced nothing!” When questioned why we think this way, naturally we point towards our idols and friends, who seemingly have their lives together. “Mpho just bought a car, and he used to be my classmate.” But what if that car was a gift, what if Mpho has been saving up for it for years, what if?

You see we won’t ever know because we only train our eyes to fixate on the end product, but never the process leading up to it.

Disclaimer: If any Mpho is reading this, male or female, please don’t kill me.


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