So there you were, binging away on your favourite YouTube videos. Maybe even scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram timeline. Then this video randomly popped up and it caught your attention. It felt like the video was made just for you.
What was it? Some guy who looked really just...normal. He wasn't wearing a suit or anything and he looked pretty young. But what struck you most wasn't just how he looked, but the fact he was running an online business that seemed to be paying him LOTS of money. So you went to his free webinar or downloaded his free product. Eventually, he pitched you his course to help you be just like him: financially free, getting paid online and never going back to the 9-to-5 grind. Sounds awesome, right?!
Maybe you bought the course. Maybe you were skeptical, but binged on similar free content after. Either way, something probably happened right under your nose. A seed of discontentment was sown and you started to resent the life you already had.
I'll be honest. Something like this has happened to me before (more than once). I quit Uni because of it. I sold my precious BMW because of it. Then a while later, I tried again and left my job at the time because of it. I didn't actually buy the courses pitched by the laptop lifestyle "gurus". But that seed of discontentment - it grew and spread with every single time I was drawn in by these internet promises.
Separating the good from the bad
Don't get me wrong, some of these videos and courses can be useful and helpful. Not all are pretending - some are genuine. Some will give you insights that can help you take a step forward in life. But not all of them will. Some of these "gurus" aren't even living the lives they're promising. But if we're ignorant to this, we'll go chasing after the wind in an attempt to follow advice that's not even proven.
Understanding the world we live in
The internet is a free market - a license isn't needed in order to publish your content online. That's great for the genuine content sharers who are sharing and selling with honesty. But it's prone to be abused by those who aren't concerned about truth, and are willing to mislead in order to get sales.
Things in the world are changing rapidly. Getting paid online will only become more normal as time goes on. Technology will advance and something better than the internet will probably come sooner or later. But in the midst of all these rapid changes, present and future, it's important to stay alert to what's going on all around us.
Contentment is a constant battle in this world. Not complacency and a lack of drive, but contentment. Being okay with your own lane, possibly having ambitions to progress too, but not going astray whilst chasing somebody else's life.
Being unashamedly you...
Some of us will build great and amazing online businesses that really help to serve people worldwide. Some of us won't. Some will take up prominent leadership positions. Others will play the unseen, background role. The point of this post isn't to bash any of the above. Honestly, not at all. It's to help us see the truth about the things that so easily depress us. The things that cause us to feel inadequate. The things that make us chase the wind and feel like we're constantly coming up short. Above all, it's to remind us to pay special attention to the unique gifts we have from God.
Some skills can be learnt through diligent study and practice. But there are also raw skills and abilities which God has placed in all of us. Things that we weren't necessarily taught, but they tend to come easy to us (at least, on some level). Instead of becoming exhausted by trying to be like "him", "her" or that laptop lifestyle "guru", why not take some time to withdraw and self-assess? Here are some questions to help you get going:
1) What are some things I find easy that many others find difficult? What do people tend to praise/celebrate me for?
2) Are there any opportunities for me to use these to serve others?
3) How can I develop to get even better at doing these things?
- Understanding of your God-given gifts and skills
- More contentment in who God made you to be
- Focus, and not to be distracted by the lives and successes of others
- Not to let your skills and gifts become idols in your heart
- Wisdom on how to use your gifts and talents to serve others
Scriptures to consider: 1 Timothy 6:6-9, Proverbs 22:29, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Proverbs 22:3.