TURN ENVY INTO A TOOL.
I love TV. Reality TV, shows, game shows. Just lock me up in a room with water, TV and you will come back and find me glued. As a millennial, most of my time is spent scrolling, reading, uploading and typing replies to posts on social media. The average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. As a writer, I have to keep up with what’s happening so double that. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It can be very unproductive to be glued to devices everyday but they can serve as the push we need in our lives.
Part of being on social media is looking at what people are up to. It used to be just friends and family in your friend list, including your aunt who keeps tagging you in religious quotes to make sure you have not forgotten your home training. These days, apps like Instagram & Snapchat has opened up the world to a point where you are constantly looking at strangers posts.
We are being bombarded. Daily. People are living our dream lives. Everyone is a "boss" and making it big. TV has people with huge mansions and luxury cars, yelling at each other. A girl on your Instagram explore page is currently in Seychelles. Two days ago, she was in Italy. She is living the life you wish you had. Your favorite Youtuber just scored a deal with Mac cosmetics and just posted a Snapchat about the collab. You barely have 1000 subscribers on your beauty channel. You want their lives. You are envious. You might have even thrown your phone across the room or deleted your Instagram app because you cannot stand one more #blessed post. What have you achieved in life, you ask.
A 10 year old just secured a million dollar deal with Whole Foods. A 17 year old just bought his mother a house. Someone just became the first black person to do this or do that. Yet here you are at 32, wondering if you missed the “here is how to live your dream life” memo. Here is what you do:
USE ENVY AS A TOOL AND FUEL.
Social media shows the highlights of our lives. At times, it shows the lowest points but these people you are so envious of, went through a process. A process you are not acknowledging. A process you were not shown. The behind the scenes is not Instagram worthy. So take the advice Omarion gave to his girlfriend, Apryl in Love and Hip hop Hollywood when she asked about her own music career taking off: “SHARPEN UP AND WAIT FOR YOUR MOMENT”.
You want to collab with a makeup industry giant one day. Have you showcased your talent and skill on any platform? If you have, keep at it. You want to your book on Barnes & Noble shelves one day soon? Are you writing often? Have you searched for an agent for that novel? If not, do it. Sharpen up your skills, keep at it and wait for the moment. You want your art shown across the world’s museums, yet you are sedentary about your work. When the music label calls for new talent, it would be in your best interest to have your music ready to go.
Waiting for your moment does not mean sit back, kick your legs up and drink some coconut water. Whiles I encourage you to do that on your vacation, waiting means using the time you have now to build. When the right person or people find out about you, your waiting period will have produced a great deal of expertise that will be needed for the next step.
This year was the year of Cardi B, Issa Rae and SZA. What you will notice in each of their backgrounds is the years of relevant content they produced, albeit on a smaller scale.
Issa Rae has a very popular show on HBO with a few in the pipeline but before that was her series, “Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube. HBO or any other TV channel for that matter would not have given her a show if there was no evidence that she could write and produce a show.
Cardi B has given us several 1 minute short clips on Instagram to laugh our hearts out to. Today, she is still entertaining us but I can’t imagine Atlantic Records handing her a contract when no one could prove that she is indeed entertaining. She even did a short stint on reality TV to show the world she was serious about her music. People loved her and here she is today, at number 1 on the Billboard charts. No matter how you feel about her personality, we can all agree that she did put in a lot of commendable work.
SZA talks about how she asked her manager to delete her album because she was so sure she will be teased and laughed at. In the past, her music had not been taken seriously so fear set in at the very last moment. Today, almost everyone I know is crazy about her and her music. Imagine if she had just thrown her hands up and wallowed in envy or pity. There would be no “Love Galore”. The thought of that hurts my soul. I love that song.
Envy is a word people hate to use but it can be a productive tool. If you are sick of seeing people live their lives and advance in their fields, use that energy to improve your skills. Maybe you have to go back to school to qualify for that position. Do not focus on the 22 year old who just seemed to have waltzed in there and handed the position. Do not worry about the engagement the other style blogger is getting on her blog. Focus on what you can do.
Focus on your activity. Work on your photography. Work on your research paper. Get your professor to write the foreword on your book. Practice. Rehearse. Wake up every day and do it over and over again. Because when your moment arrives, you will be in such high demand that taking time out for yourself will have to be a deliberate effort.
There are several ways you can manage your energy and sometimes that may include blocking the people who you are envious of from your reach but my advice to you is, DON’T. It is almost impossible to not compare yourself to others who are seemingly making it. Even people who seem to be at the top of their careers have this issue.
It is really okay to have these feelings. Channel that energy into productivity. Let’s do something amazing in 2018. If you have the next “Love Galore” or science break through on your laptop, don’t think someone else has done it or is better than you. Share it. The world is ready for you.