Seth Godin has this insightful blog up today:
With so many options in media, interaction and venues, you now get to choose what you expose yourself to.
Expose yourself to art, and you’ll come to appreciate it and aspire to make it.
Expose yourself to anonymous scathing critics and you will begin to believe them (or flinch in anticipation of their next appearance.)
Expose yourself to get-rich-quick stories and you’ll want to become one.
Expose yourself to fast food ads and you’ll crave french fries.
Expose yourself to angry mobs of uninformed, easily manipulated protesters and you’ll want to join a mob.
Expose yourself to metrics about your brand or business or performance and you’ll work to improve them.
Expose yourself to anger and you might get angry too.
Expose yourself to people making smart decisions and you’ll probably learn how to do it as well.
Expose yourself to eager long-term investors (of every kind) and you’ll likely to start making what they want to support.
It’s a choice if you want it to be.
He’s right; and he’s not the first to think so. The apostle Paul counseled the church in Philippi something similar, recognizing that we become like those we surround ourselves with and those things we choose to focus our minds on:
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
And the psalmist acknowledges this too:
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers. (Psalm 1:1)
The democratization of technology, and particularly the Internet, means that we are able to choose what we consume, what we read, what we buy, and even which people we interact with. Will we choose what glorifies God and builds for the kingdom? Will we choose hope over fear, faith in the face of doubt, love in spite of apathy and hate, justice over the status quo? Will we surround ourselves with those who encourage and inspire or with those who tear down and whose language is divisive?
As Seth writes: “It’s a choice if you want it to be.”