How Can You Be More Responsible Online?

These days, we all live a significant amount of our lives online. That naturally raises the question: how can we be responsible in our online lives?

Despite the fact that we have steadily increased the amount of time we spend online, not much good has come of it.

On a personal basis, the promise of the internet was to bring people together, even if separated by thousands of miles. While that happens, an increasing percentage of users feel more lonely and isolated than ever before. It is also true that it is remarkably easy to have your identity stolen.

Things aren’t much better on a societal level, either. On the plus side, anyone with an internet connection has access to a remarkable amount of information. Unfortunately, there is also more misinformation available as well. Rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories spread more quickly online than does the truth.

So what can we do about it?

One thing is for each of us to be more responsible in our online lives. This responsibility extends to how we protect our own information, how we behave to other online users, and what information we consume and share with others.

What, specifically, do you do to guard your personal information? What do you do to see someone as an individual when all they are to you is pixels on a screen? And how do you make sure you are not falling prey to hoaxes and lies that you might encounter on your internet travels?

Related questions: Can an internet friend be a true companion? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us? Are you addicted to your phone? What is your bubble?

What Are Your Vices?

Knowing the challenges and obstacles you face is necessary for preparing yourself to face them. With that in mind, what are your vices?

While the classic seven deadly sins — greed, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony, lust, and wrath — are a good place to start in considering potential vices, it is far from an exhaustive list.

And it is not even clear that they are all vices. Why shouldn’t I be proud, say, of a hard-won accomplishment? And just what is sloth, anyway?

This is not, however, to discount from legitimate vices. There are certain behaviors and habits that can be quite destructive in any number of ways. If you find you can’t resist some habitual behavior — playing video games at the expense of everything else, for example, or drinking to excess, or gambling money you can’t afford to lose — that could be the sign of a problem.

With some amount of introspection, you can probably think of some parts of your life that you wish you could change. It might be as simple as being habitually late, or as complex as addictive behavior.

One thing to avoid, however, is letting others define your vices for you. What someone else thinks of as a vice might turn out to be a virtue for you, in the end. If you feel strongly that something is right for you even though others disagree, it may not, indeed, be a real vice.

In the end, it is important to understand and be realistic about yourself, including both your good and bad points. Knowing certain activities lead you to bad decisions can help you avoid those activities. It might be uncomfortable, at times, but probing and defining your own weaknesses can ultimately make you stronger.

Related questions: What is your weakness? When is it useful to fail? What do you do that you shouldn’t? What is uncomfortable but rewarding?

 

 

 

Who Do You Want To Be?

An important part of self-improvement is having a road map to follow. In other words, who do you want to be?

It is hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. Thus, in order to get to the place you want to go to — that is, the person you want to be — it is crucial to know in advance who that is.

Maybe you feel it best to be a good partner, or parent (or grandparent), or maybe a good employee. You might want to be the kind of person who reads every day, or someone who sees the world. The possibilities are nearly endless.

One way to determine which traits you wish to have or to develop is to look for role models. If there are people around you who behave the way you want to behave, try to figure out what it is that helped them get there. You may even want to ask them.

There are also many books extolling one virtue or another. You may want to read up on someone you admire, to see what makes them tick. How do they lead a creative life, or make money, or increase empathy, or whatever you wish to emulate?

Once you decide on what you wish to improve, there is the secondary task of actually doing it. If you think that, for example, punctuality is important, ask yourself: how can I be more punctual?

Reaching your potential, and becoming the person you desire to be requires that you put some thought (and eventually some planning) in place. Who do you want to be?

Related questions: How do you set priorities? How do you want to be remembered? Who are your role models? What does it mean to be a good person?

How Do Other People Motivate You?

When it comes to motivation, one type comes from outside — namely, from other people. How do others motivate you?

There are many ways that other people might encourage you to work harder, be more thoughtful, give more to charity, or many other ways to improve yourself.

For example, one way is through setting an example. If you see someone else that you respect behave in a particular way, it may motivate you to emulate that behavior.

Or consider guilt. A loved one might make you feel guilty about something you did or didn’t do. Those feelings of guilt may change your behavior.

Love, fear, envy, and many other emotions can be called upon by someone else. There are plenty of stories of people doing strange things for love. A bad boss may motivate through fear. And someone else’s success — their money, job, family, and so on — can drive you to work even harder to keep up.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways someone else can be a motivational force in your life. Can you think of examples from your own life? How do others motivate you?

Related questions: What motivates you? What expectations do you have of others? How do you depend on others? Who is the most important person in your life?