Social media can be an enormous drain. It’s got the potential to become a black hole, sucking in your attention and keeping you glued to your phone for hours on end. Increasingly, I’m worried about the unrealistic and unhealthy expectations people are forming in this new, social world.
But, I definitely don’t think it’s all negative. It can be an enormously powerful tool, and a force for good. I love sharing what I’m working on, getting inspired by amazing, creative people, ridiculous athletes, and fantastic design. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels – a whole world of ‘new media’ has been made possible because of social media.
I try and manage how I use social media so it adds something to my life. One of the best ways to do that is to focus on filling it with stuff you find interesting, informative or inspiring. Instagram is a great place for a burst of motivation, useful training tips, or even the wisdom of ancient philosophers – if you follow the right accounts.
Here are three of my favourites:
1. Jocko Willink
Jocko is an ex-Navy SEAL, best-selling author and podcaster. Every morning, he’s up and ‘getting after it’ at half 4. I love the consistency: a photo of the same manly, rugged watch on a thick gorilla-like wrist, day after day. Black and white, of course – colour is for wimps.
He’s got a hectic travel schedule – running his management consulting business Echelon Front, and promoting various books and other ventures all over the world. But, no matter how busy he is, he always squeezes in a workout. Even if it’s just push-ups and burpees, some movement is better than nothing.
Follow this guy if you want a serious dose of motivation – if only because you feel so lazy in comparison.
2. The Daily Stoic
Ryan Holiday is almost singlehandedly responsible for bringing Stoicism into the public eye in recent years, with his groundbreaking book The Obstacle is the Way. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
A couple of years ago, he released a book called The Daily Stoic, with a new meditation from one of the key thinkers (Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca or Cato) for every day of the year. To be honest, I wasn’t that great at checking in with the book, often forgetting to read the day’s passage and getting behind.
The Instagram account has been a perfect substitute – I’ll often stop, mid-scroll, and meditate on what I’ve just read for a minute or too. It gives me a sense of calm, focus and energy.
Follow this account for a daily dose of practical philosophy.
3. Brain Pickings
One of my favourite blogs is Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings. It’s an incredible repository of creative insights, deep, thoughtful commentary – and a place I refer to almost every day for inspiration.
This is actually a fan page, dedicated to posting snippets and quotes from the site. I’ll often see something which really strikes a chord with me, and go down the rabbit hole. I’ve been introduced to so many great writers, thinkers and artists through this page. I hope you will be too.