“Welcome to my YouTube channel, lovelies.”
“I’ve had so many questions about my night-time routine, so here goes; I bathe in liquid gold before I go to sleep.”
“I think I’m better than many of you because I have a ton of followers on social media and spend money on expensive things and outings to seem relevant.”
Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating, I know. Influencers aren’t that obnoxious. But I still find it mind-blowing that these so-called micro-celebrities have such power over us and the purchasing decisions we make.
For those of you who don’t know, influencers are people who use the internet and various social media platforms to create content for others to enjoy. These people can have a lot of power over their followers and are able to use that influence to either advocate for certain causes, or to get people to purchase items from specific brands that they partner with.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘hater’ at all and I love it when people with many followers on social media use the power they have to encourage others to a) get healthy and fit b) study more, or work harder towards their dreams, c) advocate for social change, or d) raise awareness about the importance of mental health.
However, I can’t help but notice the over-idealised and oft-unrealistic depiction of life that these influencers portray to us. So many of us in our twenties cannot afford to buy new make-up products every month, or rent large apartments, or have expensive spa treatments, and because we see influencers able to live lavish lifestyles at their young ages, we feel bad about ourselves for not reaching that level of success yet. We watch these content creators shoot ‘mukbang’ videos, buying tons of food at KFC, while we lick our lips, eating our seventh packet of noodles for the week. We watch them talk about being paid to post pictures wearing certain brands of lipstick, or bikinis, or lotions, while we wake up at 5am every day to get ready for work, while studying and juggling side-hustles, just to make ends meet.
To be clear, I can understand some of the entertainment value these people give us, since watching them live their lives is often an opportunity for us to escape our looming deadlines and daily stresses. It can be harmless fun.
However, the main message I want to deliver to you is that you should not feel bad for not being as ‘rich’ as they are. Wake up, go to work, and hustle. There is no shame in working a nine-to-five job. And there is nothing unfashionable about working while studying and taking on extra piece-jobs to support yourselves and your families.
You don’t need to buy the latest Revlon lipstick just because some lady who will use the product once before throwing it away, looked cute wearing it. Rock the clothes you have, use your favourite well-worn eyeliner and improve your life at your own pace.
It’s also important to note that nobody posts their problems on social media, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any. A smile with one million ‘likes’ on Instagram could still be hiding a thousand tears, even if the person perfectly contoured their face, or used the right shade of rouge on their cheeks before posting the image.
Follow people who inspire you and encourage you to be better versions of yourselves, and don’t compare your lives to that of online influencers. Most importantly, don’t live beyond your means just to look cute on an Instagram selfie.
You can improve your lives daily, without breaking your budget by:
1.) Planning your days the night before, and writing up a realistic to-do list to follow, ensuring that you are constantly making progress on your goals.
And no, you don’t need to sit opposite a ring-light, filming yourself doing so.
2.) Waking up a little earlier each day and taking some time to meditate and journal before the hustle-and-bustle of your day starts. Thank God for everything He has blessed you with, because showing gratitude is a great way of fostering peace of mind and peace in your soul.
And no, you don’t need a fancy iPhone to set an alarm to wake up.
3.) Exercising! I know it’s hard. I struggle too. But if you can start with five minutes of low-impact cardio exercises, adding five minutes every day, you will physically see yourself improving in time.
And no, you do NOT need to buy new gym clothes to work out. Wear an old T-shirt and run around the house.
4.) Setting study timers. I try and concentrate during each 45-minute writing session I set for myself. I know studying isn’t always fun but force yourself to make progress on your schoolwork or other learning and earning goals every day. Working hard is easier when it becomes a habit. Start every day with the intention to do better than you did the day before.
And no, you do NOT need the most expensive, sparkly notebooks and pens that cost R150 and more, just to make progress on your assignments.
5.) Going to work and working hard at your job/studies. Even if you are not living your dream life, hustle hard while you continue applying for a job that you’re truly passionate about.
And no, you should NOT feel ashamed of working hard for your money.
6.) Eating healthily. Try and make healthier decisions that won’t break the bank. Try and incorporate more fruit and water into your diet. It’s great for your digestive system.
And no, you do NOT need to purchase expensive Herbalife meals, or buy a blender and expensive exotic fruits at Woolworths to be healthy. Do what you can with what you have.
As I said guys, don’t allow influencers to make you feel like your achievements and hard work are invalid. Sure, you might not have a YouTube channel or wear expensive clothes but continue hustling. Your persistence and grit will eventually bear the sweetest of fruits.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like to read on why social media is not just social media here.
Tell us: How much of a distraction are influencers really? And do you agree with the author that you should not pay too much attention to them and should rather spend more of your time cultivating your own goals?