Why we need to shine more light on the struggle in success
Today‘s topic is struggle in relation to success. And I don‘t only mean failing and learning from stuff, I mean struggling with your mental health, decisions, thought patterns and entire projects.
Successful people don‘t get super open about their actual struggles on the way to success and I think that really hurts the mindset of young creatives, especially in the age of social media highlight reels.
No, it‘s not enough anymore to tell people you had depression. It is a first step, yes. But unless there is any context on how it felt, impacted you or how you got through it, it‘s nothing more than a side fact about you. That‘s leaving the impression somewhere between the lines that you didn‘t lay in bed for weeks unable to do shit for your career and anyone that has depression that looks up to you could just interpret it that way and pressure themselves.
Now, don‘t get me wrong. Nobody should tell everybody their life story, but if mental illness is a part of it, it should revolve around how that time looked realistically. Because even though I rationally know that depression is similar for most people, an anxious or depressed brain is a comparison brain and if you don‘t ever talk about how crippling some things were for you, people will feel like they have to mask it and push on to get where you are. There needs to be a storytelling aspect beyond „I had depression early in my career.“
Let‘s get away from mental illness for a bit. Struggle in general is a part of life and growth. ESPECIALLY if you worked your way up to incredible heights. And while it is cool to flex all the stuff you struggled for, there has to be more realness about struggle being part of the deal. More and more people in Generation Z feel like they are behind or something is wrong with them because they struggle immensely. Again, a „I‘ve struggled“ from their idol doesn‘t really cut it. A „I struggled with this and that so hard in the beginning of my career and I struggle with xyz to this day. I still compare myself a lot when it comes to ____.“ There is much more depth in that and makes people feel less like they are alone.
We all struggle the same and sharing that should be normalized more. Not just because it teaches younger generations that struggling is part of growing to those heights, but also to humanize successful people again, because currently a majority of them benefit from being too much of a persona, completely dehumanized. That damages so much in parasocial relationships with fans.
I can relate much better to a Halsey that is open about her bipolar or a Brie Larson talking about her struggles in finding herself within her industry, than I can relate to a Drake or a Ellen. And that‘s because of in-depth interviews that go beyond the standard PR and because of people having youtube channels where they don‘t just post perfectly scripted and edited work.
I see this problem especially with men. It would have a big impact on society if people in those positions would be more candid about this stuff. I’m sure it would prompt way more teens to develop different habits when it comes to mental health and socializing standards.
So, I started this podcast with this stuff in mind. I‘ll invite creatives of any size of following and from different kinds of niches to talk about struggles, mental health and how they keep a balance. Let‘s get rid of the idea that anything creative in this world should be connected to perfectionism. We are human. That goes for an Instagram Influencer as much as for a business coach, and for a new author as much as a Hollywood actor.
Let‘s make this a place of honesty and comfort and let‘s actually try to grow this to a point where I can invite people you might look up to, to talk about the imperfections being a part of this journey.
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The struggle in success by Rabea