We are going through a “digital” revolution. Information is available online for everything you have ever imagined. We are literally DROWNING IN INFORMATION. We rely on the internet to purchase our dream holiday, find out how to build a rat maze to entertain our 4-legged companion, learn how to paint like a pro in 45 minutes, and even see if we can magically solve a lifetime of emotional distress via one hour of hypnotherapy. We find our plumber, our dentist, our psychiatrist, and often our life partner online.

The world is at our feet, or better said at the tip of our mouse. “Just click here and I will make your dream a reality.” One click that will supposedly change your life.

Virtual worlds want to grab your attention and get a hold of your time. We are bombarded with thousands of ads every day.

But information does no equal knowledge, and knowledge does not equal wisdom. Information is being poured onto us like tropical rain in Borneo, by the bucketload. Knowledge is an accumulation of information from different areas of interest that will later form our Know How, topics we like exchanging opinions on and have conversations about with friends or strangers. What we call Wisdom is the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong; it is also the ability for insight; it means seeing the deeper meaning of things. Or the ability to anticipate the consequences of your actions. Wisdom can be accumulated through personal failure, education, learning by watching others succeed or fail in the same field; highly refined experience and abilities developed over time are also called expertize.

Wisdom seems to be lacking online, and the motivation of the people trying to solve your problems often leaves a lot to be desired. The stated or hidden motivation behind their willingness to help is in most cases money.

Do not get me wrong, we all need money to pay bills, provide education to our children, be able to fulfil a personal dream or that of someone we care a lot about.

But many people completely surrender their life to digital experts, most of whom have little to no psychological training in how the human mind and soul work. Though not all of them are a fraud, those who are will manipulate your emotions and take advantage of your insecurities.

So what should you be looking for when you decide to follow someone on social media? At the beginning or at the end of the day, you will open their video or message. Is their message uplifting? Motivational? Encouraging? Empowering? Do they tell you only beautiful things that you love to hear, or do they tell you some unpleasant things also?

Is this message about them, or is at about you? How much you decide to buy into their point of view is in the end how much you allow them to influence your decisions. Our beliefs can blind us to the point where we see only what we want to see. Social media wants you hooked. They will use every possible instrument available: alluring videos, making you feel part of a community, giving you a space where you can express opinions and judgements, and above all be heard. The FILTERED images, slogans, sponsored content are all there to reinforce your view of the world. Because, you were very honest about your preferences from the beginning, weren’t you?

So is this a bad thing or a good thing?

It can be a good thing if you are in the middle of a big professional change. Let’s say you want to leave the corporate world and start a more humanitarian business like coaching, copywriting or creative teaching. The more you narrow down your search to people who come close to what you want to do, the more you will see almost exclusively targeted advertising of people who already do the things you want to do, or who are willing to help you become like them. So you can use some of their struggle stories to find inspiration and long-term motivation.

It can also be a bad thing, especially for groups of experts, spiritual advisors, dieticians, gurus that are grouped into a structure of great proportions – who together seem able to solve any kind of problem you might have ever had. Many times they prey on your fears, signs of emotional distress, insecurities, dependency in relationships, inability to take decisions, the feeling of being stuck. Simply by paying enough advertising money, they can get direct access to your Facebook profile and email address. The cookies they use when you visit their websites track down your search history. Maybe you have bought a monthly membership because the amount of video and audio content they offer is huge and you cannot possibly watch or listen to all of it in a few days.

But after a few months you find yourself with the same problems, just under a better light. You have not yet found a solution to them, you have no measurable result, no significant feeling of ease, only tons more information (not knowledge, and unfortunately not wisdom).

The more information we have, the more we become unable to choose. It is called the paradox of choice. If you have 3, 4 or 5 choices it’s great… but if you have 25 or 200 you start to feel paralyzed. Choosing something (a solution) means giving up the Endless Sea of possibilities.

The more magical, mambo jumbo, “peace – enlightenment – love” there is in their message, the more you should doubt their intentions.

Would you go to the internet to fix the broken leg of your kid with improvised DIY instruments? Or would you take them to the nearest hospital? You would also know that they need an orthopaedic doctor so you wouldn’t take them to a psychiatrist.

You should choose equally wisely when it comes to who you allow to influence your life. An influencer is a trend setter. They can be huge with millions of followers, and then you have the flock effect. You will not receive any personal attention from them as they are busy building themselves a name and basking in their own glory.

If they are “micro-influencers”, maybe they have only a few thousand followers, but they are highly educated and have real expertise in the field they represent. Although you should not expect miracle solutions to your problems, the interaction is more personal and the time they dedicate to you is more about you and less about them. They can make you feel part of a tribe, almost like a family.

The internet can be a great and useful instrument to find information, news on what’s happening on another side of the world. It can help you reunite with kindergarten friends even if you live in different parts of the world. It can help you accidentally find a well written article about a fear you’ve had for years, which finally pushes you to make the decision to contact a specialist and ask for their help to change your life for good.

But be careful who you allow to influence your view of the world. A lot of so-called experts have no proper psychological or coaching training. And if they do have a certificate, it’s often obtained for $49 online. If they claim to be the “only one” who have the “key” that has so far been hidden from you, is this enough for you to trust them with deep secrets and disturbing emotions you might have?

The change for the better that we hope to obtain in the quality of our relationships and ultimately the Joy we feel in life are always the result of an “INNER JOURNEY”. There has to be willingness to look inside, to take at least partial responsibility for what we have or don’t have right now. It is called ACCOUNTABILITY. This should always be the Right Foundation on which you can begin to heal your past, or build a bright future.