I think that insights have the power to change the way we think and ultimately our lives. So I’ve decided to share some of my insights every month! Here are 3 insights I learned or I thought about in February.
Insight #1: We live in such a complicated world that we often have no idea what is the effect and extent of our actions. – Paula Ghete
A few days ago, I watched the documentary “The True Cost” on Netflix. It’s a documentary about the fashion industry and all the damage it causes. Here are a few things you should know about this: clothing companies want to sell clothes as cheaply as possible. And to do that, they outsource production to underdeveloped countries in Asia like Bangladesh, India, China and so on.
The problem is that this desire to manufacture and sell as many clothes as cheaply as possible comes with a very big price tag that we are unaware of. The entire process seems to have negative and even devastating effects from the people who grow cotton and other plants, to the people who make the clothes in factories that are called “sweatshops”.
This entire process has an effect on the people working in this industry and the environment. The pesticides used pollutes the land and water and make the farmers sick. The land and water pollution affect the health of many people leaving in those areas. The people working in those factories are often poor and are forced to accept to work in terrible conditions. They are not respected, they are underpaid and they often work in unsafe conditions.
This document was so eye-opening that it left me speechless and it brought to me to tears. And then it also made me a bit angry because I had no idea what was the extent of the effects of the clothing industry.
You see, when I go to the mall and enter a store to buy a dress or a pair of jeans, all I see are beautiful clothes in a nice-looking store. I never see any of the dirt and destruction behind that. And I’m sure that you are probably in my situation. We are aware that we are contributing to that problem. Our satisfaction fuels those people’s tragedy and the destruction of our environment. And it’s heart-breaking.
We live in a world that is so complicated and complex that we have no idea how most things work. We cannot see the entire process behind the food and clothes we buy, the flights we take, the movies we watch and so many of our everyday actions. And unfortunately, there often are some negative effects behind that. And the companies that are doing this do not want to take responsibility and show us the truth. They want us not to know so that we will continue to support their activity, oblivious to the others things we are also supporting.
Since this is the case, I think we need to understand that we live in a complicated world where we don’t usually see what we contribute to. And in many cases, we may contribute to something we don’t really want to. So I think we need to be responsible and take it upon us to learn more about the consequences of our actions. It’s not easy, but I think it is necessary.
What you can do
1. Remember that you have the power
The first thing would be to become aware of the fact that you have the power to influence the world you live in. And I don’t mean that in a positive and unrealistic way. You do have power and you are using that every day – with the little choices you make like what to eat, what to buy and so on. If we all realized this, we would have the chance to make big changes in our world really soon. So please remember that you have the power to support the people, companies and industries that do the right thing and penalize the ones who don’t.
2. Educate yourself
This can seem a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be one. Yes, there are many things we need to learn, but this can be a long-term process. And it can be enjoyable. How can you learn more about this? Here are some suggestions:
- read a few articles about any of these topics: climate change, pollution, the meat industry, clothing manufacturing or anything that you think is important and want to learn more about
- watch the documentary “The True Cost”; there are also other documentaries that expose problems in big industries; I don’t know if all of them are good, but you can definitely watch some documentaries sometimes
- follow a few accounts on social media that also talk about these problems; this way you’ll learn new things without having to always seek the information yourself
- talk to people who already know a bit about this; if you have friends or relatives who are aware of some of these problems, ask them what they know about it; maybe they don’t have many facts, but it’s a start
3. Make the right choices
Once you understand a bit more about the way your actions impact the world we live in, try to find out how you can do better. This will take some times, but that’s normal. It’s a process, not something you can fix in a day. Look for alternatives that are less damaging to the people involved, the animals and the planet.
4. Spread the word
Once you learn more about the consequences of your actions, talk about it. There’s a high chance that other people around you also don’t know how they can unwillingly have a negative impact on our world. If you can, help open their eyes and encourage them to make better choices. Whether they will do something about it or not is their choice, but you can at least show them a better way.
Insight #2: Our social media profiles are mirrors that show the world who we are. – Paula Ghete
This is something I recently thought about. I’m aware it’s not a fact, but more an observation, but I wanted to share it with you.
Most of us use social media to share who we are and parts of our lives. We often plan and edit our pictures and spend a lot of time trying to make ourselves look good – sometimes even too good and we forget about being real.
Those accounts are often mirrors that show to the world who we are, what we love and what we believe. They show how we see ourselves and the world around us.
For example, if you post many pictures with books, you are (obviously) the type of person who likes to read. You’re also probably and intellectual and an overthinker who loves learning.
If you post many motivational quotes, you’re at the beginning of the personal development journey. You’re trying to keep yourself motivated and excited about the possibility of becoming better. But you probably don’t know what to do and what projects to work on, so you keep hoping you’ll get the inspiration one day.
If you post only pictures of yourself where you look great and you edit them a lot, you probably care a lot about what people think about you. You may be vain. And if you usually wear a lot of make-up, revealing clothes (or no clothes) and make your body the main focus of every picture, you may be confident, but also narcissistic and shallow.
If you share pictures of amazing buildings and iconic attractions from your travels, you probably love architecture, symmetry and beauty in general.
I know that these are all stereotypes and they may not be true in all cases. But I think that when we look at a new profile, we inevitably make some associations and judgments about the person behind that account. So I think it’s a good idea to ask ourselves what people think when they look at our accounts. What is the message people will get when taking a look at our pictures? I think it would be a good idea for us to re-assess this periodically and to try to make our accounts reflect who we truly are.
What you can do
1. The first step if obviously to get to know yourself.
Find out what really defines you – the good and the bad.
2. Decide what you want to share with the world.
Maybe you don’t want to talk about your work, but you want to share your passion for photography. It’s alright if you only share some part of your life, but try to share the things that matter to you.
3. Don’t try to seem perfect.
Many people are making this mistake – they work so hard to convince everyone that they are perfect and nobody can relate to them. Also, let’s face it, nobody is person and nobody’s life is always amazing. If that’s what your profile shows, it’s obvious it doesn’t reflect the true story.
4. Share some of the bad too.
We normally feel the desire to only share our successes, our highlights and our best pictures. We want to make ourselves look good, seem interesting and pretend we have it altogether. But if we never share our struggles, our flaws and our problems, people won’t get to know ourselves – not really. Moreover, you’ll often feel tired of having to keep up this façade. Try to share the real you – with the good and the bad. You’ll be surprised to notice that many people may like you more when you start to share the real you!
5. Stop and reassess often.
Our profiles – like ourselves – are constantly changing and evolving. So it’s a good idea to sometimes pause and ask yourself: does my account still represent me? Or have I unknowingly started to present myself in a different way? Try to keep the gap between who you are and who you seem on social media small.
Insight #3: It takes a lot of self-awareness to admit your own limits. But it’s also very important that we learn how to do that. – Paula Ghete
A few days ago, I was talking to some people online about the connection between income and pollution levels. We had different opinions and I was sure I was right. I tried my best to bring good arguments, provide resources to show data and explain my train of thought. But even though I was sure I was right, I said to myself “Even if I am right, I definitely need to learn more about this”.
I learned new things about pollution and climate change because my boyfriend, Radu is working on a big documentary about this. So as he was learning something new, he would share it with me and I would ask questions and we would have a conversation about it. I realize that this was a great way for me to learn a lot from him. I trust him because he is very thorough when doing research and facts and numbers cannot be denied. But I want to learn more about this on my own as well.
I realize that even though I have some clear ideas about pollution and climate change in mind, my knowledge is superficial. And so is my knowledge about most things. I’m not an expert in any field. But there are some things I understand better than others and some things I understand better than most people.
While having that debate with people online, I felt that sometimes they couldn’t realize the limits of their knowledge. Even when presented with clear data, they still tried to twist it to fit their argument. I get that and I think it’s something we can do pretty often if we aren’t careful. I have done that in the past too. And maybe I still do it sometimes. But I try not to.
I have come to the conclusion that we are all ignorant about many things. And there’s no shame in admitting that. Actually, we should we ashamed when we cannot see our own limits or we try to cover them up.
Being able to see how much you know (or don’t know) and what you are great at (or terrible at) takes self-awareness. And being able to admit your own shortcomings to yourself and publicly takes courage and maturity. It will also make your life much easier since you can just be yourself and not have to pretend you know more than you do. You also won’t make a fool out of yourself when people catch on to your act.
So let’s be honest with ourselves and brave and look at the limits of our knowledge, skills and abilities. Let’s admit who we are and who we are not.
What you can do
1. Get to know yourself – even your limits and your flaws.
We all have them and they define us to a large extent, so we might as well acknowledge them.
2. Accept your limits.
Having limits is human and natural. It’s frustrating, but this shouldn’t stop us from loving ourselves, also seeing our strengths and potential and doing our best.
3. Talk about them.
Having the courage to admit your own flaws and limits to others can be life-changing. It can make you feel more authentic and others may relate to you more because of this.
4. Try to move past them.
Even though it’s normal to have limits, you can sometimes move past them – if you want to. For example, if you notice that you are ignorant about pollution and climate change, you can learn more about that (like I’ll do). If you are scared of speaking in public, you can learn how to do that. Obviously, there are some things you cannot change or some things that take a lot of time and effort, but there are also many things you can change if you want to.
My hope is that once you become aware of your limits, you’ll decide to evolve past some of them. It will help you grow and become a better version of yourself!
Remember that insights can really change minds and improve lives. Keep sharing good ideas with everyone who is willing to listen to you. And if you liked this article, share this one too!
What do you think about the insights I shared?