Social media has given us the gem that is “#ThrowbackThursday”, however, it has also brought with it the psychological warfare that is comparing our lives to seemingly successful strangers. These comparisons for some may serve as motivation, but for others, it serves as the thief of joy, as individuals succumb to the pressures of doing everything right, and or first in their journeys to living with a career they love. Although, the thought still lingers as to whether or not there are many things people may want to do now that haven’t been done before, as well as what exactly can be learned from having the past guide future paths.
Every now and then, the internet gets excited with every chance it gets to take a long stroll through memory lane. First, we were blessed with the nostalgic powers of “#ThrowbackThursday”. The social media phenomenon has infested timelines and newsfeeds across platforms, with people showing their best and favorite memories every Thursday like clockwork.
Yesterday, although a Sunday, was no different. People on Facebook and Instagram took to their feeds to participate in the “#HowHardDidAgeHitMe” challenge, where they compared their photos from 10 years ago to their present selves. With yet another chance for a beloved walk through memory lane, the latest living history challenge reminded us just how much life recycles itself, and why you shouldn’t mind recycling life either.
It can be agreed that humans tend to become obsessed with the past. As old trends take over the runways again, modern stores are left plastered in beloved 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s fashion influences. Its hard to imagine how the generations who started such trends feel seeing young people stress on being trendsetters and tastemakers. Meanwhile, while young people can be these things, it is important to understand and appreciate that their choices are simply recycling and enhancing what has already been created and curated many moons before.
Don’t take this wrongly, or feel discouraged, as if there is no more room to make history as the first in your respective career choice. In fact, we are seeing more firsts from underserved/underreported groups in this day than ever before. However, given that the past often repeats itself, one cannot truly say their accomplishments, even if generally the first of its kind, was achieved without any influences of what has already been tried successfully or otherwise.
With mounting pressures on the younger generations to be the first, or the best, it can sometimes feel like innovation and creativity is the only option they have. Although, innovation and creativity can also feel trapped in stagnation, especially when followed by the thought that something can no longer be created because it has been, or is being done.
For example, last year I decided to follow another dream by starting a fashion brand, Young Geh Lappa Suit. I remember a friend, when discovered my dream detour into fashion, said; “You too are starting into this clothes business?”.
Needless to say, the comment struck me. I dissected it, closed it up, and re-dissected. “You too…. TOO”. I hung on to the words as if in a distorted loop. Was fashion no longer allowed in my radar because it was on other people’s as well? By this rhetoric, did I now have to reconsider my media dreams because of all the currently existing magazines and media powerhouses? Could I no longer wear certain trends or styles because it has been worn by XYZ and M before?
Well, obviously not, right? The truth here is, unless you have found life on Jupiter, or found a way to print the clothes from your latest online shopping trip, chances are, most of what you are doing now has been tried and done before. Rather than see it as a deterrent, see it as an opportunity to make better that idea and skill. Mistakes were made before so you learn, so as to not repeat them, while successes were realized so you can repeat them.
While there may already be a million bloggers, youtubers, fashion designers, tech experts, media moguls, etc. there is only one you. Yes, your goals may already exist, but there is something you are to add to it that will make a significant impact, which is why the universe gravitated you toward the idea in the first place. Likewise, there is more than enough space for every fashion brand, blogger, youtuber, doctor, etc. to win. The world is big enough. This is why people are still labeled as trendsetters and tastemakers despite life repeating itself, because they bring other perspectives to the experience the world otherwise would not be privileged to.
As such, do not allow the fact that something is being done, or has already been done stop you from following your dreams. The world has not experienced your take on that thing, and you could be deferring your blessings and breakthrough by doing anything else. The circle of life requires us to come back because life is a literal circle. All that you are doing has been done before, but you must do it anyway. You can, and you should.
As the saying goes, “its not about who did it first, its about who did it best.”
Have a great week reminding yourself of this very important mantra.