Inviting Disappointment

If you’re active in online discussions, remember to invite discussions on topics that interest you.

Don’t just post memes or trivial updates about your life. Don’t just read or respond to other people’s topics.

Actually invite discussions to explore and advance what interests you.

This may expose a weak social circle or a weak platform. You may feel resistance to inviting such discussions because you know a certain social circle isn’t up to the task. Maybe you’ve tested this a few times, and the responses have been disappointing.

This doesn’t mean it’s wise to abandon the practice. Instead, practice elsewhere. Find other communities where you’ll find more aligned people who can intelligently discuss what interests you.

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, can you raise entrepreneurial topics with your social circle and expect intelligent answers? Will you see stimulating ideas being exchanged?

What if you’re interested in human relationships or sexuality? Life purpose and contribution? The Law of Attraction? The nature of reality? Going vegan?

Do you have at least one good social circle for discussing each topic that interests you? It doesn’t have to be the same social circle or platform for every topic.

When I was younger, I had zero outlets where I could intelligently discuss certain topics. That made exploration much harder. I remember it being especially challenging when I was 17 and was having major doubts about religion, but I didn’t know any non-religious people that I could trust to talk intelligently about it. So I mostly had to do all my own thinking and figuring.

When I was 18 and moved to Berkeley, there were lots of people I could talk to about this, which was incredibly refreshing. That made a huge difference.

At another time in my life, I was the only person I knew who was really into personal growth. I leaned heavily on books and audio programs during this time, as if they were my social circle. It would have been so nice to have people to compare notes with and share ideas. Later in life I eventually made more growth-oriented friends, and it was wonderful to finally engage in intelligent discussions about it.

It’s useful to just keep sharing what interests you, even if you’re sharing into a void, and no one else seems to be aligned with your interests. This exposes the weaknesses of misaligned social circles. It makes you face the disappointment of what they’re not providing, so you can’t just ignore that major misalignment. This can motivate you to stop wasting your time messaging into a void and start looking for a better place to interact with like-minded people. It makes you question the value of the social groups and platforms you interact with. That can be a hard truth to face, but it’s good to keep facing it.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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