Be Curious Instead of Judgmental | Internetly Vol. 4
On appreciating your free time, not caring what your friends think, and the maliciousness of personal branding.
Greetings from Brooklyn. It’s a classic April day, one where the humidity hangs low in the silver sky, and drizzle rolls through the clouds.
When COVID slammed into New York City a year ago, I began panic habit-stacking in an attempt to gain control. The first habit was to make my bed. Then get dressed, even though I was going nowhere. Third, a morning meditation.
As the pandemic lagged, I continued to accumulate new habits. I now have over 100 entries in my self-reflection journal. I don’t check social media until 11 AM. I read ten pages of a book before going to sleep.
I wish I could tell you my package of habits has protected me from bad days. That it is a shield from life’s gloomy moments.
But good habits aren’t an antidote.
It’s unnerving to become a good habit-aficionado and still get slammed with self-deprecating thoughts. You’ll hit a bad day and think, “What? This isn’t supposed to happen to me! I’m enlightened now!”
Nope. Doesn’t work this way. Good habits will keep you afloat, but they won’t get rid of the storms that blow through the harbor of your mind.
And yet, my premium package of good habits has done wonders. I am a happier person, more cognizant of my surroundings, and well-rested. Since adopting them, I’ve managed to fulfill two life goals:
Become a freelance writer.
Publish my personal writing.
So, stack those habits. Bask in the results they bring, and rivet in their compounding power. Just don’t expect them to protect you from the world.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: Why The People You Know Judge You
There are two types of judgment we face when we begin putting ourselves out there:
I don’t want people who I don’t know to see what I’m doing.
I don’t want people who I do know to see what I’m doing.
The latter is particularly fearsome. There is something taboo about recreating a new identity in the face of old companions and family members. It feels gawky. At least with strangers, there’s a clean slate.
Our egos want to cling to our old, worn-in identity. It’s like slipping on the same wool sweater you’ve worn since High School. It’s not very flattering. It’s not special. But you know how it fits. And you know no one will take a second glance at you.
We value other people’s comfort over our growth. But when you begin creating online, you chuck the sweater into the bin. You slip into something more flattering. People then become confused and reexamine you.
We call this Baby Duck Syndrome. When people first meet you, they “imprint” on you and your perceived disposition. They then categorize you and assume you function in a specific way. When you step away from your concretized identity, you force people to have to relearn what they thought they once knew.
Or stated otherwise:
When a radical change is made to something already viewed as useful, but does not fundamentally change the experience, people rebel – and they rebel quickly.
Don’t let other people’s preconceived notions of you stop you from growing into the person you’re meant to be.
People are resistant to your identity change because they don’t want to have to relearn who you are. 🦆
🥒 Content Diet
Your weekly little vitamin packet. 🏃🏼♀️
I. Tony Robbins on A Habit of Positive Thinking
Ah, Tony Robbins. You either love him or you hate him. For those of you who hate him, bear with me for a short moment.
In this clip, Tony illustrates what happens if we ignore the negative, and begin to embrace only the positive. The negative includes the visceral judgment we have towards others.
Tony goes on:
“Instead of judging yourself and others, decide right now to become curious instead of judgmental. Remember, as soon as you start judging other people, you’re also going to start judging yourself intensely.”
Most of us indulge in judgment because it boosts our self-esteem. We can sigh with relief and think, “At least I’m not like that person.”
But judgment is a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. If you choose to employ its services, it will turn on you. Judgment will seep through your life, and claw its way into your consciousness.
When judgment comes knocking on your door, become curious. Ask yourself what about this person makes them the way they are. Not only will you become a kinder human being, but you’ll be able to live life with wonderful objectivity.
Be curious instead of judgmental. 🧠
II. Personal Branding Ruins People’s Lives by Where’s Your Ed At
I’m subscribed to Sara Campbell’s fantastic newsletter, Tiny Revolutions, which recommended this riveting piece.
Personal branding is the modern way of “finding oneself.” Rather than jet off with a one-way ticket to India with Eat Pray Love in tow, we monetize our online personalities.
It’s easier to look at the screens and go on dopamine binges instead of opting for internal inspection. Becoming an influencer sounds more fun (and makes way more money) anyways.
We’ve seen this cultural shift with our younger generation as well. A quick peek on Amazon shows us the glossy, “Become an influencer!” media kits designed specifically for children.
As explained in the essay:
Personal branding has filled a void in young people that have felt directionless and dispassionate, giving them the ability to construct a personality, which gives them a sense of industry and characteristics resembling a personality without the energy that comes from having one.
It’s easier to monetize your personality than to fully understand it. 🍂
III. Digital Detoxes in How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
Last week, I mentally beat myself to a pulp for not “working enough.” So, I re-read some snippets of How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell to become comfortable with the idea of inaction.
I loved Chapter 2: The Impossibility of Retreat.
The chapter spoke about digital detoxing, a “self-care” method used to cleanse our souls from the insidiousness of the screens.
“Things like digital detox retreats are marketed as a kind of “life hack” for increasing productivity upon our return to work. And the impulse to say goodbye to it all, permanently, doesn’t just neglect our responsibility to the world we live in; it is largely unfeasible.”
It’s ironic, considering we invented digital detoxes as a way to combat workaholism. In reality, it’s all part of the plan. After bingeing, you’re promised a renewed sense of self that will catapult their productivity to unmatched levels.
A digital detox isn’t “self-care,” unless you count self-care as reaching new productivity levels. 💅🏻
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: For the Love of God, Be Aware of Your Time
I’m going to tell you something embarrassing.
If you know diddly-squat about the freelancing world, this won’t fall under the umbrella of “embarrassing,” but here goes.
I’ve been a freelancer since October 2020. And I have not clocked in my hours…once.
Every article I’ve ever completed, every hour I billed, every project proposal I’ve sent…I picked those hours out of thin air.
I would keep a light tab on how long something would take me, usually rounding down because I didn’t want to “charge too much money.” This is the same as opting out of getting paid for your labor because you “didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.” 🤦🏼♀️
Better late than never to turn things around.
I’ve downloaded Clockify, a time-tracking app. It’ll allow me to get a good grasp on my working hours, how to price myself, and what I’m devoting the most time to.
And, there been an unexpected bonus. On my first day using Clockify, I clocked in a total of six working hours, spread across three separate projects. Seeing the color-coded time blocks stunned me. It suddenly felt okay to step away from the screen. I had worked enough.
Maybe this is what my workaholic self needed all along.
Clock in your working hours for God’s sake. ⏰
Hey you. Yeah, you!
Thank you so much for reading. Let me know if anything stood out to you or you have any suggestions. Your words mean the world to me. 🌎
And if you liked this newsletter, please do share and subscribe! I put in a few hours every week into this newsletter, so any shred of support is appreciated. :)
Have a lovely week.
- Alice 💌