Living by Likes

It’s funny how sometimes life sneaks up on you and catches you by surprise. I had some occasion of inspiration recently to examine the way I have been thinking, the way I have been living and the general direction of my life. It was not something I planned on doing, it just organically unfolded.
It really revealed a paradigm shift in the way I have come to see things. For someone who has worked hard to shed “baggage” and “Give Up” things that would hold me back from achieving goals, and living a peaceful happy existence, I found that I have picked up some new mental baggage and bad habits. It also shows that as a parent I have been a bit of a hypocrite and a bad example.
Within the last couple of years I have noticed a disturbing trend with my two daughters. In this age of quick communications, i-phones, Skype, Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat and various other ‘apps’, they spend entirely too much time on their devices Not only have the devices seemingly become a natural extension of their body and psyche: They have become the barometer, nay, the instrument and means of their self-esteem.
No longer are accomplishments gained through toil, effort and work important or even applicable. Even achievement in battle on the field of sport in less important than one simple thing:
The “LIKE”
The “like” can come in a number of forms, but most apps are just the “like”. I have been watching the behavior of my oldest daughter (who is sixteen) in particular.
Now as any parent knows, or any person for that matter, sixteen is an awkward age. Full of angst and uncertainty, 16 is filled with raging hormones and unexpected, uncontrollable emotions. Self-esteem is fragile at best. Self -worth hasn’t developed and a sense that everything is of a world shattering magnitude is the norm. Our value lies in the expectations we place on others. Value is external, happiness is external and dependent. This is as true now as it was in 1914 or 1714.
The difference is that now, self-esteem can be raised and lowed like the boats in a chain of locks. They are measured and vacillate with the varying amount of instant attention they can get by posting the “selfie” by twitting some crazy, but doing a stupid stunt ANY number of methods that gain attention just for the sake of attention.
How can gratification from working hard, or applying a skill or learning a skill for that matter compete with being praised for posting a picture of sticking your tongue out, with your eyes crossed while holding up your new Louis Vuitton bag?
Hmm let’s see… how many likes? “I only got 49 likes?” If I don’t hit at least 70 likes… I have to take this down.
“ Urghhh, I have no friends!”
“ Nobody thinks I’m pretty”
Ughhhhhhhh only 53 likes? Life sucks!
How do we overcome this? How are these kids going to develop any real sense of self-worth as adults? The real question how will this affect decisions business place, the markets etc in 10, 15 years?
It has already reached up and grabbed some adults and a new tier of professionals, it has affected me.
I have found myself falling into the habit of checking the likes on various postings, articles, comments even pictures on Facebook.
This has gone well beyond just legitimate metrics that reflect response and if material resonates with readers, friends. It has also taken root in my psyche as an ingredient of my own self-worth.
My argument would be that “Winners” real winners give up living by likes! They do not derive self-esteem by the opinion of others. The self- aware, confident, equipped individual does NOT rely on the opinion of others to have a healthy opinion of themselves.
I have found myself seeking instant feedback and response in various areas. This has opened a real Pandora’s box and even made me fall into the trap on of measuring my ability and worth, if only briefly, by the instant response to a post, a picture a text, an article.
This habit is quick sand.
So what do we do? How does one instill proper self- esteem and an accurate view of self? How do we teach and learn that these things are not important?
Do we take away these apps? Will the fad of likes fade away? No and neither will the issues linked to them… self- esteem, FEAR. Fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy; fear of loss all creations of our mind, triggered in this instance by the LIKE.
The heart of the matter really hold the same core as so many other matters, the answer lies in conquering one’s own fear.
How perfect would our life be if we lived free of fear, expectation of others and just lived in a state of acceptance? It sometimes takes a lifetime of learning to get to that point. How does one in their teens, in their 20’s get to that point?
That can’t be answered in a single article but you can do one thing: You can stop living by the “LIKE”.

James J. Maioho

Author's Bio: 

James J. Maioho
James Maioho is a Business Mentor, Consultant, Coach and Author who resides in West Michigan.
A full time, Single Father of two girls, James is heavily involved in the local community, State Politics, Mentoring and volunteering for regional Minority Contractors and businesses as well as various charities, such as Habitat for Humanity and has become active as a mentor and speaker in the recovery community, helping other battle personal issues in an attempt to live a more fulfilling life.
He also brings more than twenty five years of seasoned, in depth, business building experience from a wide range of industries and markets.
Notably, at age 26 he was the youngest Full line Territory Manager ever to represent Caterpillar up to that time in the United States. Managing several counties in Michigan he increased revenue form $250K to nearly $10M annually. He currently is implementing his proven sales methodology into the fastest growing Environmental Services Company in the Mid-West.
Time and time again, James has brought companies and product into consistent double digit growth and exponentially increased market share.
Before founding The MadKo Group; James tenured with a private, Turn Around- Consulting Firm as an Analyst and Change Strategist. This Chicago based firm focused specifically on Tax issues and Change Strategy. Making over 300 site visits, across the U.S., he worked with Principals, CEOs and Boards to turn around businesses in every sector. He intimately understands the challenges that businesses and Sales and Marketing Divisions and professionals face.
Also a studied musician, writer and guitarist. Having studied in the Western Michigan University honors college and College of Music and The Musicians Institute for Contemporary Music in Los Angeles CA>
Author of several trade and personal growth related articles in various publications James recently released his first book “Winners Give Up”