Dive In and #LiveUnfiltered with PADI

#LiveUnfiltered is more than just a trendy hashtag or PADI’s latest campaign to get more divers into the water. Rather, it’s an invitation into a new, more relaxed, more real way of living – and hopefully, one with lots of diving!

The Pressure to Be Perfect

Let’s face it. In today’s world, there’s no “off” switch. Someone is constantly watching, and social media can feel ruthless. Furthermore, there’s unspoken pressure and we “should” be happy and perfect – like everyone else seems to be.

In reality, however, what we see on social media has been curated and filtered. At best, the filters we impose on ourselves feel fake; at worst, they can be oppressive and stifling. Feeling like we have to appear a certain way all the time can take the fun and joy out of the things we do. 

“For years, I’ve struggled with comparing my life to the perfect lives of my peers as portrayed on their various social media accounts,” said Sarah Morlock, one of PADI’s Global Social Media Consultants for the #LiveUnfiltered campaign. As a full-time traveler, Morlock feels the pressure to only post photos “as gorgeous… [as those of] travel influencers” and admits that this sometimes makes her travels less enjoyable. 

Moreover, she added, “I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this. I know I’m not the only one that has looked at themselves and wondered why they aren’t that pretty. I know I’m not the only one who has been cyberbullied. And, I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with anxiety and depression related to the pressure to keep up with their peers.”

Indeed these feelings and fears are human and universal. That’s why PADI believes in the importance of finding ways to #LiveUnfiltered – like diving.

Choosing to Live Your Most Authentic Life

So, why is it important that we #LiveUnfiltered? 

It’s “getting rid of the surface pressure to have a perfect life,” Morlock explains. Additionally, when we stop trying to be perfect, we start being real. We start having fun. We start living more authentically.

For Charles Park, “living unfiltered means to connect with nature, friends, family and most importantly ourselves, and to do so in real life, real-time, and not just through our devices.” 

He knows that real experiences in beautiful, natural places like the ocean help us to live without the mental (and visual) trappings of filters and without feeling like we “should” be living in any certain way. 

As PADI’s Creative Director overseeing the #LiveUnfiltered visual campaign, Park incorporates storytelling that showcases what an unfiltered lifestyle looks like. The people he showcases, PADI’s AmbassaDivers and the PADI community, have messy hair, sunkissed skin and smiles on their faces. They’re diving and enjoying their lives rather than worrying about what they look like. They’re not perfect, but they sure are happy. 

This is what it means to #LiveUnfiltered. 

Prioritizing What Makes You Happiest

Now, diving isn’t the only way to live unfiltered and happy. Park said, “You can live unfiltered on a walk with your dog, or a picnic in the park with someone. It’s about reminding oneself to be in the moment.”

Nevertheless, should you want to try it, diving is a great way to connect to these more real parts of you. “Diving is the ultimate freedom,” Park said. “It provides me with unparalleled and unfiltered beauty. It’s meditative, and it always leaves me so thankful to be living.”

happy divers smiling at the surface

For Ashley Levy, Park’s campaign co-manager and Sr. Manager at Global Performance Marketing, living unfiltered also means “living your best life – without compromise or reservation or having to give into societal pressures of how you ‘should be’ living. It’s a movement of change, allowing us to disconnect from our own reality to do whatever makes us feel happy and fulfilled.”

For her, the goal of the campaign is to get more people to think introspectively about what truly makes them genuinely happy, and to feel like they have more control in their lives. 

Other Benefits

There are a few other benefits of diving that the campaign will highlight:

1) Nature Unfiltered

A young man in sunglasses cleans up plastic from a beach
Through ocean conservation and diving, you can find ways to leave an impact.

Diving is about so much more than earning certifications and looking at cool stuff underwater. Becoming certified is just the beginning. For example, diving is also about conservation and community. It gives you an avenue through which to leave a personal legacy of impact for our ocean, our planet and those around you.

For example, whether on World Ocean Day, as a PADI Torchbearer or AmbassaDiver or by working with the PADI AWARE Foundation, there are countless ways to dive for a purpose and to create waves of change much bigger than yourself. 

2) Wellness Unfiltered

Because diving requires such presence, it also helps you remove yourself from the daily chaos of life above the surface. Morlock describes it as tranquil and salubrious – health-giving.

Relaxed Scuba Diver

“Diving is one of the few activities that allow us to fully disconnect from our topside world of work, family, etc, and connect with a new underwater world,” added Levy. “Our brains turn off to many of the stresses and pressures we have in the world above. No phones/computers, no alerts/alarms, no voices, little sound. It is peaceful and relaxing.”

Like Levy described, once you hit the water, it’s just about you, your breath and which way you want to go. In this way, diving can have a wonderful, positive impact on your mental health and well-being. “Happiness comes in all forms, but diving makes a lot of people happy and relaxed and we want to offer that to more and more people!” Levy added.

3) Connection Unfiltered

Because diving helps us disconnect from the hustle and bustle of “normal life,” it also creates space for us to reconnect with what truly matters. This can be helping others and our oceans, meeting new friends and community or getting to know ourselves better. With each dive, we get closer to figuring out what brings us joy and doing more of that. It sounds simple – and it is – but the impact can change literally everything.

AmbassaDiver Frank Mollel with dive friends.

My Unfiltered Life

For me personally, diving gave me access not just to a magical underwater world, but to a happier, more aligned, more authentic me – an unfiltered version of myself. Exactly 10 years ago, I became a PADI Open Water Diver. In the decade and 350 dives since, I’ve found so much meaning and purpose through my experiences diving. I quit an unhappy job as a lawyer, deciding instead to save the oceans that had saved me. This brought me to my beloved Florida Keys to try coral restoration and scientific diving. Here, I now find myself in a career I love – as an ocean storyteller and explorer – surrounded by other ocean lovers who inspire me daily.

You can read all of this on my resume and LinkedIn. But, what you don’t see is how genuinely joyful and me I’ve become. Thanks to diving, I am living my most unconventional, most unimaginable, most unfiltered life – and having the time of my life doing it. 

Now, the question is, can we help you start living unfiltered?

An enriched air nitrox diver jumping into the water from the back of a dive boat
Are you ready to take a giant stride into the rest of your life?

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