Scrolling through Instagram's popular page, I noticed an oddly disturbing trend amongst today's fitness influencers. It does not matter who you are or what you bring to the table, others will unjustifiably belittle you and criticize your every belief or action. From intellectuals like Layne Norton, to motivational giants like Bradley Martyn, the medias hateful messages are widespread, relentless, and 100% unwarranted.
We are all at different points along the same path. We all seek self improvement, and use fitness as an outlet to achieve varying degrees of physical and mental prowess. Working out, regardless of the type, feels good, and provides a sense of accomplishment. So then, why ravage the person to your left for trying to succeed in the same thing as you?
At the root of the problem, lies one of human nature's most distasteful feelings- jealousy. Jealousy can creep up on you without warning, flood you with a sea of uncharacteristic emotion, and drive you to to do things that you would not normally do. But envy is normal, and should not push you to knock others success. But it can, and is consuming today's fitness industry faster than you or I can keep up with.
To make matters worse, social media provides an inherent safety blanket for its users to interact without any immediate repercussions. Some have caught on, using popular media interfaces like Instagram and twitter to defiantly spread negativity. The cycle begins. Joe Schmoe discovers Bradley Martyn's IG handle, envies him, realizes that he is not motivated to put in the time or work that Martyn did to get to his level, and bashes Bradley about something 100% untrue to make himself feel better about sucking at life. That is the the unfortunate reality of the world that we live in, and we are forced to deal with the circumstances until stricter media laws are set in motion.
You may be wondering how all of the world's negativity affects you? After all, you are not the celebrity taking heat from masses. Simple. By bastardizing others' success, you subconsciously dismiss your own. If you cannot respect Layne Norton for having his PHD, or for putting in 20+ years of hard work to achieve bodybuilding and powerlifting greatness, then you have established subpar standards for yourself, and will never come close to fulfilling even a fraction of what he has. Contrarily, if you respect Layne's success, then you can use him as motivation to propel you through your fitness journey and towards the top of the industry. One with a positive mindset is more likely to act out positively, and actions breed results. Period!
How do we reunite an industry that is spiraling out of control with jealousy and hate? Appreciation. We must learn to appreciate those who have already achieved what we aspire to. Only then, can we find the peace within ourselves to start our own journey's towards greatness. Learn to hold your reservations about another's accomplishments, and to recognize success where it exists. Rather than jealously critiquing Bradley's 700+ lbs deadlift and calling him out on minuscule things that hold no relevance, praise him, and set a similar, more attainable goal for yourself. Use his success in a positive light to fuel your own. In doing so, you create a positive environment for both your mentors on social media, and for yourself in person. In turn, they will work harder to motivate you, and you will work harder to succeed on your own. Fitness founded that very culture long ago, where everyone supported one another, and we must consciously fight to revive it now through social media's "dark days".