Today is the last post in our Resume Week series. First post here, in case you missed it! (Can you believe that another week has cruised past? How on earth did it happen that HBS Rd 1 is in less than two weeks?!?) What we’re going to suggest to you today is really-truly still related…
Want to change the world? Here’s what you can do: STOP READING STUPID DRAMA-PORN.
Doesn’t matter how you feel about the Kardashians. By clicking on an article about any of them — good or bad — you are feeding an industry that survives on peddling trash.
It’s not that those people are trash.
It’s that they are not selling ANYTHING.
Or more accurately: What they are selling is an illusion. It is fake.
They are selling a lifestyle, or an image, dangling a fantasy of what your life could look like — from the outside — if only you took the right vacations or bought the right product or had the right filter on your photos.
The reason that there is so much NOT-NEWS in our culture is because people respond to it. All the politidrama hitting the front page of major media outlets about who said what behind whose back is NOT NEWS. It’s cloak-and-dagger conspiracy theories or backstabbing feudalism playing out on a larger stage for all of us aghast spectators to watch.
It is NOT NEWS. It is NOT NOURISHING. It is NOT HEALTHY.
You get ZERO nutrient value from consuming it.
We’re not talking about cat videos on reddit or Let’s Plays on youtube. Those have questionable value but they’re not — at least in our opinion — actively damaging our culture. They’re entertaining. Shallow, perhaps, but essentially harmless (mostly).
You may think that an up-in-arms article about the machinations of the White House or the stupid thing that some Leader of the Free World has tweeted today is also harmless. Or even that you need to follow the tweets of the LotFW so that you know what’s happening out there.
But trust us. You do not. Tweets are not what’s happening. Tweets are tweets; ephemeral; fleeting. Tweets do not create policy or change. Tweets seem to be solely a means of distracting everyone from what’s really happening. If you want to know what our government is up to, read the smaller headlines on the front page of the paper. The ones that talk about legislative changes and rules being rolled back. That’s where the real action is today, yet nobody seems to be noticing. Everyone is caught up in the drama about who said what behind whose back.
Or maybe your fetish takes a different form. Maybe you’re secretly obsessed with Nicki Minaj. Or you binge on prank videos when you’re by yourself in your apartment at night. Or you devour all the articles about the manueverings of your favorite quarterback’s personal trainer who’s trying to take over a whole football franchise. Or you can’t stop watching Ellen DeGeneres and you hope nobody ever finds out. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with any of those things (though our perspective is that prank videos are just plain mean).
What we’re suggesting today is that you pay attention to what you actually consume on the Internet. Just because there’s a tantalizing breathless headline about some actress who got her personal phone hacked and her photos are now strewn across the Internet, or some ridiculous thing that someone inside or outside the White House is claimed to have said, or some youtuber posted something totally stupid and racist, or this beauty blogger is throwing shade on that one, does NOT mean you have to click on it and read it or watch the whole damn video that lays out the imagined crimes that one influencer has afflicted upon another.
These things exist because people respond to them. They have no value. They are not making the world a better place (or whatever it is you professed you want to do in your MBA apps).
Watching drama videos on the internet is simply perpetuating the drama. There is no redeeming value for others to participate in drama. It’s drama. It’s emotion for emotion’s sake. To be a voyeur on other people’s emotions is not helpful. It’s not helping them, and it’s not helping you. It’s just giving you a cheap thrill. It lets you be In The Know, so that you can be on the Us side of an us-vs-them scenario. These are hardwired feelings that are built into all of us, where we need to know where the power structure is and which alliances will serve us better — but in this social media era, they are being exploited to the detriment of us all.
The worst of all is clicking on articles that profile the latest mass shooter. Don’t do it. Many of these people are doing it for the infamy of the crime. They want to become famous because of the atrocity. Don’t indulge your sick curiosity in this way. It’s not necessary. You will learn nothing useful by reading about a detailed bio of a disturbed person who committed another disturbing crime.
This is not just a national media issue but a hyperlocal one, too. If you see someone in your social network being treated poorly, then instead of being a bystander to it, say something. Stand up for someone who’s being victimized on the Internet. Do it respectfully, in a way that shows compassion to the one who is bullying as much as the one being bullied. Simply reminding people that “I’m sure you’re really a very nice person IRL and I doubt you would say this to this person’s face. If all of us want the world to be a better place, then perhaps we can try make our online world a little better as a first step.”
The right to free speech means that people can say whatever they want, but you don’t have to participate in it.
If fewer of us are responding to the clickbait, then there will be fewer advertising dollars flowing to those who are trafficking in such counterproductive commerce. Is the article whose headline you see going to uplift you? Is it going to teach you something new? Is it going to give you a new skill or help expand your view of the world in a way that will benefit you or some others?
If not, you can still click through to read it. But just before you do, ask yourself: Is this intended to build up or tear down? Is this article contributing to an illusion of the world that NOBODY truly experiences, be it some type of artificial glamour or an airbrushed exclusivity or the imagined prestige of fame? Are you going to read about someone else’s suffering for your own enjoyment?
If so, it’s your choice to make, but do it with awareness. What will this give you? What are you giving away with this click? Don’t be a vacuous cog in the machine.
Whenever we hear of a BSer who made it in somewhere and is now having second thoughts, it always makes us go “Hmm.” Sometimes, what happened is the BSer applied to Schools A, B, and C…. and also School N. Nobody wants to go to School N. Getting in to School N didn’t even make…
Many of you are still in recovery from the stress of submitting your Round 2 applications – or you still haven’t submitted all of them that you’re trying for. However, some of you may come off the rollercoaster of the past few days and then stand there feeling a little lost. There’s often a big…
“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of–for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way you gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
This week we’re offering some advice for those who’re looking ahead past the current admissions season and thinking about the rest of 2018 and beyond. If you missed them, our first in the series on Monday is here and the second is here. 3. Re-evaluate opportunities. It may be that you get such a positive…
This week we’re discussing the real-world situation of the Brave Supplicant who tried for an MBA but did not have success getting in. This is not so much about planning a reapplicant strategy, though that isn’t at odds with this either. This is about, hmmm, things didn’t go as planned, and sitting here in middle…
It may seem like everyone but you has been accepted to bschool this year, but it’s not true. There have been lots of disappointments. You’re not the only one. Everyone crows about their successes but many who don’t make it go very quiet about everything so you can sometimes feel like you’re the only one…
…there is literally nothing stopping you.
You do not need an MBA.
You do not need a lot of money.
You do not need anything except the willingness to get started and actually go do it.
Most people trying for an MBA are looking to make changes in their life. Some people look to the MBA only when they feel they’re out of options, like if they get laid off, or a contract runs out, and they don’t know what else to do. They think the MBA will save them. (It might, but it’s probably not going to solve whatever the underlying issue is in that case.) Most people though are just looking to be better. They want to reconfigure their lives and go for something more.
However, you don’t need an MBA to make changes.
You can make this year different by doing even very small things.
And we mean, very small.
If executed with intent, you can radically transform your experience of the everyday with little shifts in how you go about things.
There’s the really basic ones like you’ve heard many times before, such as getting off the bus one stop ahead of your destination, and walking it. Or parking at the end of the parking lot, and putting in a few more steps as you run your errands. Those are fine but they’re a little boring, and sometimes you don’t have time to do the inconvenient.
A funner trick (yes that’s a word now) is switching things up in your daily routine. For example, try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand in the morning. It’s hard! It’ll also make you stop and think. You’ll have to pay attention to the task, instead of just going through the motions. It’s a way to trick yourself into staying more present, and anchoring yourself into what you’re doing and the small thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Here’s another set of ideas, all based around the outdoors , many of which are tricks to help you change perspective. Like, instead of hiking that Big Famous Mountain that attracts all the tourists and ends up being crowded on the trails, scout around for another smaller peak adjacent to it, and hike that. The author claims the views are often better anyway.
Getting out of the city and into nature on a regular basis can radically change how you feel. There’s this concept of “forest bathing” that started in Japan which has wisdom and merit. It’s not just that you’re surrounded by trees and feeling the crunch of leaves or pine needles beneath your feet. It’s that you’re out of your everyday rut. Change your environment and it changes your thoughts.
So how about this. Consider this your assignment for today, and tomorrow, and the rest of the week.
Find a moment to give a genuine compliment to a complete stranger, somewhere as you go about your day. It has to be genuine. It can be anyone though. The barista as you pick up your coffee. The bus driver as you get on the bus. The bike messenger chick whizzing past you as you’re crossing the street (as long as you’re loud enough that you know she heard you). Doesn’t matter. Just make a point to a) observe, and b) appreciate, and c) say it out loud. At least one time. Today. And tomorrow. And keep going for 7 days total.
Or keep doing it forever.
That’s how change happens in life.
Sometimes it comes in a massive wave of disruption, where you pack up your life and you move to a new place to start some big new adventure. Like bschool.
But the REAL change comes when you change. You can be the same person who comes out the other end of the MBA process if you relocate your same ideas and habits and being-stuck-ness into bschool and don’t let go of them.
Or you can explore life TODAY. And see what happens.
What new shift will you embrace for 2018?