I’ve always been competitive. Maybe it comes from being athletic, or maybe it’s just my type ‘A’ personality, but I don’t like to lose. I used to compete in Triathlons but since starting my company, all that competitive drive has been focused on my business. I’ve always done my best to stay ahead of the pack and in a way it’s that competition that’s kept ME in the race.
When I swam, cycled and ran my triathlons, I kept my head down, focusing on my own performance while always knowing where my competition was. I quickened my pace when I got close to someone ahead of me and increased my speed when I felt another racer inching up from behind. We kept each other moving and fighting for the win without ever really seeing each other. It was a healthy competition because we’d focus on our own strengths without comparing ourselves to each other and that’s how I’ve always operated in business. But with the daily dosing of social media that way of working has changed.
The Internet’s put a magnifying glass on all of us and it feels as if the world is watching every move we make.
Fashion has always been about creating the latest trend, and I’ve made it my rule to never mimic another designer’s work. I’m an innovator and much like my approach to racing, I try to keep my head down and not to follow others. But social media’s making that way of operating close to impossible and it’s getting harder to ignore what others are doing. We can’t open a page without seeing each other and that’s hurting all of us… designers and consumers.
It’s this barrage of popular perfectionism that’s taking over our world and now everyone is judged by how many followers they have on their Instagram, how many Influencers wear their clothes and how many times their company shows up at the top of a Google search.
It’s adding a new layer of stress and it’s even making ME question my worth. I see other clothing companies highlighted on some Influencer’s feed proclaiming to her hundred-thousand followers that another clothing company is the bomb and I gotta admit, it can get a little depressing.
I wonder why not ME? What am I missing and why aren’t we trending? Why am I failing?
Social media is turning us into superficial maniacs making people who set out to do great things become well… not so great. I mean, there’s always been this unspoken standard that the most successful people are the busiest, the hardest working and the richest, but now that we see everyone else’s “perfect” business thru the eyes of social media, that standard has reached sickening levels.
I’ve always suspected social media is bad for our mental health, but now there’s proof. Science Daily reported that “Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram may not be great for [our] personal well-being. The first experimental study examining use of multiple platforms shows a causal link between time spent on these social media and increased depression and loneliness.”
Basically, anyone who has a habit of comparing themselves to others risks getting depressed after surfing thru the internet. Why? Because all of these channels show a “perfect” world that doesn’t exist. The mere comparison between what we see online to our own reality is making us anxious, overwhelmed and depressed.
Even the Influencers posting their perfect worlds are dealing with the negative effects. The Guardian picked up a story by Jenny Gritters who wrote how tough being an Influencer is. She said “making Instagram a reliable part of your income is a taxing process, and it can take a serious psychological toll.” These are the people controlling the stories, posting perfection twenty times a day and even they’re getting depressed over the plastic world they’ve created.
We’re having a mental health crisis and social media’s behind it. Social media’s become the new ruler for success and just like a car crash, it’s tough to look away from it. Hearing how others are better off is one thing, but seeing it adds a new impact on our mental health and this view of perfection is hurting our self esteem.
I, for one, am tired of comparing my business… and my life… to others and I refuse to let a false view of reality stop ME from reaching my goals.
MAJAMAS EARTH is a pint-sized company doing great things but because of social media, we risk looking like just another apparel line. A friend asked me, “with all the options out there, are you really needed?” and for a split second, I was pulled back to my racing days. Suddenly I was in that transition between cycling and running when my legs felt like lead. I’d wonder why I even bothered finishing when most people were still home in bed. But my competitive nature always took hold and I’d finish, sometimes winning my age group, knowing I was doing something to better myself. I was living healthier than most and leading by example.
We’re not that swanky, designer brand focusing on image over impact or that fast-fashion company choking the ocean with waste and dyes.
We’re the little guys that are making clothes with a purpose and for people who want to make a difference.
We’re focusing on our impact instead of our numbers, and creating ethical, sustainable clothing. We’re the ones making clothes for people who care what they wear and showing them there’s a difference between us and that disposable fashion brand who’s throwing thousands into a runway show at fashion week just to dump their sets, props and trash all into a landfill when the party’s over.
Just like back in my racing days, I’m keeping my head down letting my competitive nature keep me focused on my mission. Even though I feel the competition inching up on ME, I refuse to see it thru the eyes of the internet. Instead, I’m going to look at it as healthy competition that makes ME better. I’m focusing on what I set out to do; produce beautiful clothing that doesn’t harm our beautiful planet and I’m confident the people who care will support ME.
5 Way to Keep Social Media From Bringing You Down
1. Set aside a limited amount of time to surf your social media and stick to it. No cheating!
2. Only follow Influencers who share your values, inspire change and make you happy.
3. If you post, post with a purpose or a call to action that helps the Greater Good.
4. Leave positive feedback encouraging those you support and un-follow those you don’t.
5. Put down your phone and take a daily break from your device.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
How do you maintain a healthy social media routine?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS EARTH garment this week!