You hear it all the time … “Oh, everyone’s a _____.” You can basically fill in the blank with any hobby, trend, profession, or lifestyle because what everyone is, is a critic. People can be so critical of what others choose to pursue and generalize them with people who enjoy the same things.
“Everyone’s a photographer.”
“Everyone’s an environmentalist.”
“Everyone’s a fan of this artist now.”
“Everyone’s following this new fashion trend.”
For example, I watched Side by Side: Can Film Survive Our Digital Future? in my Digital Media class. This is a documentary that described how the film industry has changed with the advancement of technology. It has without a doubt benefitted every step of the filmmaking process, but one director, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, saw the accessibility of video and editing technology to be detrimental to the art form. He said something along the lines of: everyone thinks they’re producers and therefore there is more ‘bad content’ being put out there which takes away from the good. This blew my mind because how would people improve if they didn’t have the chance to start and learn from their mistakes? Everyone starts somewhere and should have the equal opportunity to pursue opportunities that are accessible to them or ones that they are interested in.
Hearing that was discouraging to me as a content creator and got me thinking about how many other times I’ve heard similar remarks. Generalizing people can be harmful to their success; they could fall down a dark hole of second-guessing and comparison. I’d say we’re all guilty of generalizing people at some point in our lives, but I know we have the ability to rationally think it through and take other factors into consideration. I’ve been working hard to mature and combat this mindset. It’s just a simple change in perspective, so instead of generalizing, we can take a step back to rationalize. Here’s some examples of how we can take my earlier statements and practice inclusiveness:
Everyone’s a photographer. “Everyone has a different eye for their images and their editing styles vary. It’s awesome to see people caring about photos and taking time to capture their loved ones and the world around them.”
Everyone’s an environmentalist. “Wow, it’s great that they’re caring about the environment, too. The world needs more people who care so we will see more positive changes down the road and get things turned around.”
Everyone’s a fan of this artist now. “No way, they like them too? I wonder if we have a similar music taste and we could discover new music from each other.”
Everyone’s following this new fashion trend. “I love the way they styled their outfit today. Where did they get those jeans?”
Everyone’s exactly who they are meant to be. It’s not your or my place to criticize how someone chooses to live their life. We should only be worried about ourselves and what we choose to do. People have things in common, that’s just the way it goes. We all have our uniqueness about us in the way we do things, not necessarily the things we do. So, there’s no comparisons or generalizations to be made whenever we’re all just trying to get by, doing the things we love along the way.