When the internet created the revolution of information, social media birthed the attention economy. Both have become very powerful products, very successfully sold to us. So successful, that
A big chunk of humanity is completely lost on a daily basis in the loophole of creating content to fulfill the promised dream of instant recognition, sales, fame and success.
Since we connect and communicate via social media, we also reach out to our customers there. Instagram, Facebook and Google have become the biggest marketing tools in the history of mankind. It's a big monster that needs constant increasing usage to sell data and adds. And you are the product.
So the strategy is:
First — Let more than half of the world's population can’t live without you
Second — Create this humongous monopoly so you can drive up prices, for example, adds and services
Third — Make people believe that you are the value itself that can enrich their lives
At the end it is just a revenue model of 3 of the biggest technological monopolistic brands humanity will ever know.
And billions of people are trapped in it.
When you see it as just a marketing tool than you MUST use this tool since EVERYBODY is on it! In fact, there is nothing wrong with that. But it is a marketing tool very cleverly disguised as a big sausage attached on a stick held in front of you so you will keep on running till either you are exhausted, or your budget is.
Realize one thing: Only less than 5% will have some success after following expensive masterclasses or webinars resulting from buying into ‘ Look at me, you can achieve this too’ adds thrown at us on Facebook and Insta. Remember: these people are mostly masters in social media marketing, that is their core product, and they probably threw in a lot of money to reach you through those ads. They got your attention in the hope to get your money. Their product is mostly to learn how to sell your own product. But what if you don't know what your core value is? Then they can teach you how to find it. No doubt there are some good marketeer trainers and coaches out there: but do you see the loophole? It’s money that reached your attention, not true value perse.
This kind of messaging taps not only into your wallet, but also directly into the empty feeling you might have deep inside, the unfulfilled self-realization in a world in where you are a loser if you don’t have more than 10.000 followers, when you are not the best selling author, speaker, influencer or master in something, anything really. Having those followers won't make that feeling go away.
The truth is that the social media marketing market has become a self-intoxicating and suffocating rat hole.
Its side effects range from loss of concentration and focus, the inability to make a real-life connection to a downward app and smartphone addiction. Social media has become increasingly brilliant in selling itself as to quick fix of your life, the solution to everything. While in reality, for many it is becoming more and more that one thing that truly stands in the way to self-fulfilment and manifestation.
The more time you lose in that matrix of mass-distraction, that sequence of data dopamine shots, the higher the chances are that you are drifting further away on a digital sea from finding your island of true value, your inner call and core offering to this beautiful world. Once you have found that and made it strong, then Facebook and Insta are just channels for marketing, that you probably need to use, but nothing more than that.
How to find this balance? I am happy to take you through my own experiences in finding that core value.
The long and winding path home starts with turning your phone off. And I mean it. This may sound like the easiest step, but in reality, it is the most difficult one, especially for the real addicts out there. You might deny you are one, but please check your screen time on your phone, and when its more than 4 hours a day, I call you an addict. Get real with yourself.
So how would that work? What I did was defining moments in the day that I allowed myself screentime. I don't look at my screen just before going to bed, or after waking up. I managed to shut the phone down during ANY social time with friends, family EG Real people. This is my rule NR1. Leaving your phone at home when you go somewhere is also a good strategy.
Dive in the infinite abyss of boredom, emptiness, fear and panic to miss your friends latest posts. Start realizing there is more out there.. start seeing the world again as it is, outside of your screen.
Step out of the DATACOCOON. Take time to let all those zero’s and one’s flood out of your system and become a quiet, silent fresh lake again. There are many ways, find your way. It is essential for further real human growth to find the path home again beyond the screen.
The next thing I did was turn inwards. Step by Step, day by day. It felt scary, especially in the beginning. I started with 10 minutes of meditation a day, but I did it consistently.
YOU NEED TO BREAK THE PATTERN OF GRABBING YOUR PHONE WHEN LIFE GETS ROUGH.
Go and find your own spiritual practice. Meaning: start meditating, taking long hikes in nature (without the phone), Yoga, breathing or anything that takes the attention inwards.
The rule here is : What you will find in there is what you have been running away from !
So it’s not gonna be easy. In fact, it was more the FEAR you have been running away from, because emptiness is part of life. There is nothing horrific about it. Because you are shaking off old patterns slowly, you might feel depressed, lost your purpose, maybe you feel disorientated in the beginning. CAN YOU ACCEPT THESE FEELINGS? That’s the trick, start accepting your new status.
Affirm you are OK as you are
From this acceptance phase, to feel fully OK with where you are AT, you are CREATING SPACE to start dreaming again. To touch base with your wishes and dreams.
Affirmations will help and guide you: To learn to think bigger than your limiting conditions, beliefs and patterns.
THIRD STEP: Let go, even more, You are going to DIE
Life is a constant movement of change. Look at nature, the seasons you might experience in your country. It’s all about transformation. Being born, grow from love and care, reach maturity, decay comes in, wrinkles and getting old, and we die. Nothing more to it!
But this beholds deep wisdom. As human beings, we hold on to stuff, relations, jobs, conditioning, youth, habits and.. well, basically almost everything. Social Media constantly generates a fear of missing out. This has been part of the strategy to keep you hooked. So to unhook, you will need to face that fear and let it go. In the core of it, it’s an illusion. All your experiences are perfectly timed, there is NOT ONE SINGLE HAIR out of place in this universe.
One day I also found out another thing. Letting go creates space, space to breath, space to create and space to receive. Through the spiritual practices mentioned above, I started to create more AWARENESS in my life. It is like taking a step back and looking at my daily thought patterns and behaviour patterns. When you FEEL that distance, this means you are becoming more aware. And in that created space, fundamental change lies asleep as a diamond to be found in silence, contemplation and nothingness.
The gem of letting go of to whatever you were clinging onto is the reward of silencing yourself to your own inner truth
Step four: embrace your gift
I managed to master most of the above-mentioned pieces of advice. I meditate every day, I can leave my phone alone, i can feel a deep connection to other humans, and I have a pretty good idea what my value is, what I can offer the world. Still, I am not floating around in abundance. I am also human, so I have my fall backs.
Amidst worries, doubts and stress I still sometimes find it very difficult to make time for myself. But I have found the absolute value of making that time for myself right in those periods! It made me even let go of some addictive behaviour patterns. It made me hold on to the things that give me the most inspiration in life, to the things that come naturally. To value that more and more, nurture it, and make it grow.
Just to give you an example, the core gift for me is bringing people together for transformation. This resulted in organizing a tango festival for 15 years and more recently organizing Men Circles and retreats with Yoga (connecting to silence), Hikes (connecting to nature), Breathing (letting go) and circle work (transformation). In this work, I can fully thrive, experience an authentic connection to others, and I almost don’t need a phone or social media. Well, to reach out to you, but that’s about it. Just one or two funnels is enough, word of mouth will do the rest since my aim is to offer the best retreat experience ever.
Once you find your core offering and product, it might be much more worthwhile to spend time to improve it than to get lost in content producing for the content on 6 different social media platforms. For my retreats, this means writing blogs and a new novel about transformation. Or I simply go out in nature to feel joy and happiness amidst so much natural abundance.
So what is it for you? You probably already know what your gifts are. It’s the thing that comes most natural, that gives you the most JOY to what people respond the most positive, the THING THAT GOES MOST Effortless.. when you would stop thinking.. you would in fact just start doing it because it is so much a part of your nature !!
Step five: Mirror yourself to other real humans. Find your tribe
Social media is just an outer marketing ring. Inside that ring resides your real value as a human being, the result of your education, talents, gifts and eventually your core product. That value is mostly seen, recognized and confirmed among and by other human beings. It that talent that flows naturally and gives you instant feelings of joy and good responses from your environment. So go out and TEST IT.. organize something small. Test your new YOU, your authentic self.. and don’t do this on social media, that’s not the real test, even an authentic live FB video or text is NOT, no, even not with 200 likes. Don’t forget: that is all just marketing. You are marketing authenticity as a product in fact.
One day i realized I needed to go out there and show myself. No holding back anymore. This felt very vulnerable and small. But the real-life recognition I got from my friends, family and later audience was the fuel to keep on going. I truly believe we all need that true heart to heart connection. To grow that confidence, those real-life skills, the ability to receive real honest feedback, the stuff Likes and Emoticons can’t give us. It is the SELF-LIKE and SELF-LOVE we awake and grow in ourselves, every day.
Lucien Lecarme is writer of “The Wisdom Keeper”, organizer of (men’s) retreats in Ibiza and crypto-educator.