In a social media driven world, it is becoming more and more difficult to escape the impact of social influence on your day to day decisions. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Strava… there are so many social media channels out there, we are always connected to the outside world and it is very rare that we are completely anonymous from our peers. With this comes praise alongside judgement, we take the good with the bad, the positive with the negative. It is what we do with this information on a day to day basis that shapes who we are and what we will achieve.

But why is this important? Will deciding not to do something one day (because of what others say/think) affect the rest of my life? The answer is simply, yes. Your day to day decision will affect what you do for the rest of your life. One decision for me that has shaped my life was the decision to apply for a job in China. Some people in my life thought this was a crazy idea, but I was brave, I ignored the social norm of staying in my safe job in the UK and I took the leap to uproot my life and move to China. If I had not moved to China, I would not have got a job in Singapore, met Sophie and would not be pursuing a career in triathlon now. It is funny how one decision can affect the rest of your life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should uproot and move to another country. Decisions can be on a much smaller scale like cutting back on alcohol or taking up a new hobby. Small decisions like this can impact so many areas of your life, like your health, your day to day enjoyment, your social groups. What if changing your diet prevented you from getting a disease later in life? What if cutting back on alcohol allowed you to be more productive at work and get a promotion? What if starting a new hobby, meant you meet the love of your life? You don’t know the answer to these questions, unless you try. And you shouldn’t be held back from doing what you want to do because of the influence of others. Do we really need to live in a world where we think before we post on social media… “How many likes will I get?” “But what if people disagree with my choices?” “What if people are negative about my achievements?” The important question we should be asking ourselves is… “Will this have a positive influence on my life?”

Myself and Sophie have launched ourselves more so into the social media world on our #OneYearToGoPro journey, so we are dealing with social influence on a day to day basis, which in turn has the potential to influence if we push forward to be successful or give up and move on. Identifying how to take the positives with the negatives and strategies for coping with the negatives is key to our lives everyday.

Often people comment on what you are doing negatively… maybe they can’t relate, maybe don’t understand, maybe they think its banter, maybe they are just haters. Whatever the reason is, these are not the people to surround yourself with. If you ignore the comments as much as possible, they will often go away on their own. Negative people feed off negative energy and the more you engage them, the more they will persist. Take any negativity you might be receiving with a pinch on salt. Remember this – they are not in your life day in day out, so they cannot understand your decision making process of what you’re aiming to do and you do not need to explain yourself to them. However, sometimes we perceive comments as negative when they are in-fact constructive criticism. These often come from people that care about us most because they want us to improve. Be receptive of this but also ensure you are in the right frame of mind to take this criticism on board.

When it comes to social media, we are in a world of “likes’ being the social currency and the more you have, the more successful you are or so we perceive. We all love praise and why not, you’ve earned it, so reap the rewards and take in the positivity. This can come in the form of nice comments, cheering from crowds, high fives! Surround yourself with positive people, this is the key to success and happiness. But if you get into the mentality of likes for likes, follows for follows, you may forget what you are really aiming for. The real measure of positive influence should come in the form of self esteem. If you are getting boosts of self esteem from what you’re doing, you know it’s the right decision for you. Self doubt can be our biggest downfall… Be bold, be brave, break the social norm and do what YOU think is right for YOU!

Be bold, be brave, break the social norm and do what YOU think is right for YOU!

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