“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. And I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon
If happiness is the key to life, then it begs the question is your time on social media hindering that goal?
Is Social Media Ruining Your Life?
Social Media is one of the greatest time-suckers and distractions of all time. In that split second you CHOOSE to get on to see one thing, right before your eyes, you get stuck in the black hole of time consumption called social media addiction. What should have been one minute is now been an hour, or even two. The infinite amounts of videos, quotes, photos, people, products, updates, OMG, the list is endless!
Social media is a HUGE distraction and will consume you and all of your dreams will start to elude you if they haven’t already. Unless you have a purpose or an intention while you are on your social media, your activity is more than likely not mindful, it is mindless. I don’t dislike social media, in fact, I’m just like anyone else, I really enjoy it. But I too know first hand how it distracts us from the things we ought to get accomplished and done. I know all the “oh, just let me finish reading this post, hold on while I finish looking at these photos, oh, no, I am late, I was watching that video.”
My life is such that I work full time in a corporate finance career and I also run a leadership and personal development business and social media is an important part of my business. I know the struggles, I have been through them and every now and then I find myself nose deep in funny videos, photos and other awesome things on social media.
This blog is about the way social media has transformed our lives, how it can also be the ultimate distraction and if you are not careful and monitor your usage and how you use it, you may find yourself in a place where you don’t want to be.
Your Time is Precious
You are ALWAYS trading your time for something else, so what are you going to choose to trade your time for? When we are so fixated on our social media, we lose our concept of time and space and literally become ‘hypnotized’ by our mindless scrolling.
Did you know that in today’s day and age, you lose your attention span in about six seconds? Yes, you cannot even concentrate without being distracted by the constant barrage of things that take up our time, called your “life.” Text messages, emails, Facebook, twitter, tinder, match, bing, selfies. yahoo, Instagram, podcasting, blogging, periscope, cute pictures, the chive! Oh my goodness, it is ENDLESS! I sometimes call it the “black hole of death.”
If you want to achieve BIG things, then you must learn how to manage your fragmented attention span and get focused on what’s important! I am not saying that these apps don’t have value and a place in your life because they do, but because of their distractive nature, they will stop you from getting what you say you want. It is important to manage how you spend time on them.
Instead of using social media to manage your downtime and use as your entertainment fix, your job is to find ways to mitigate the subconscious habit of mindless scrolling and do productive things to improve your life. Why not spend time with your family and friends? Why not ‘read’ a book, learn a language, travel the world, volunteer and make a contribution in your own unique way.
How Important is Your Self-Worth?
Your mini-computer, called your mobile phone is just another distraction from your life. If you find yourself in a conversation and your attention is on your phone, then you are probably addicted to your little handheld device called your phone.
Science now tells us that every time you get a text message or some type of alert on your phone, your brain releases a little dopamine. Dopamine is the pleasure drug. So if you cannot help yourself and you are constantly checking for likes, attention, comments, and feedback, then you are more than likely a dopamine junkie. If you don’t get 50 likes, 100 likes, or now 1000 likes, it is an endless competition that your ego mind preys on, before you know it, your self-esteem and confidence become equivalent to how many likes or comments you get.
Isn’t it getting ridiculous? But that is what we do, I have worked with clients who have asked me to help them get over their self-esteem issues because they subconsciously tied their confidence to the number of likes, comments and friends on social media. I could not believe that people actually tied their self-worth to their social media. 10 years ago, that was unheard of.
Technology has its place in your life and it does play an important role, but don’t let it be an excuse to trade your life out for time that could be spent elsewhere. There’s a fine line between productivity, challenging yourself to become greater and wasting your treasured time.
It’s the 80/20 rule, successful people implement this rule. Are you entertaining yourself 80% of the time and educating yourself 20% of the time? Or are you the one who is educating yourself 80% of the time and leaving entertainment to 20% of the time? So are you really leaving 80% of your life up to chance because you are addicted to being entertained? I love being entertained too but this is NOT what will make yo happy or get you closer to your goals and dreams. It will drive you further away from what you want.
Technology has made our life more streamlined that’s for sure. Is it worth it to you to update your Facebook instead of going for a walk and get fit and healthy? Is it worth it to you to search match for your perfect suitor when he could be taking that Spanish class you said you always wanted to take but haven’t because you’re too busy with your nose in your phone scrolling the feed? Is it worth it to comment on everyone’s photos and videos and you know you should have been doing your homework assignment instead? Think about it…
Are you willing to pay the price when you and your partner have nothing to talk about because you have just spent the last 12 months of your relationship drifting apart as you were too busy getting seduced by your friend’s or your acquaintance’s Instagram photos? And you realize you have been living vicariously through them but it is too late to fix your already troubled relationship, and it ended.
Awakening you to the brutal truth of the reality that you are a junkie of sorts. But guess what, if you don’t know you are doing it, then how are you going to change it? Your ability to understand your emotional aptitude is critical. If you don’t know what to change, then how are you going to change it?
Setting Healthy Boundaries
There are so many distractions in our lives already, TV, media, the news, reality TV, advertising, marketing, YouTube, social media, alcohol, addiction, the list is endless. Do you want to end up being that person who didn’t achieve their dreams and their life’s purpose because you sat on the couch all day with the remote in your hands flipping through the channels of somebody else’s life?
Did you really think you will find fulfillment because someone got divorced on a reality show, someone announced that they were cheating on their spouse, some celebrity was having a new baby? Someone got kicked off the island. Did your life really improve after finding out that information? This takes us further away from our dreams, our goals and everything that we want to accomplish. Do you really want to end up like this? Or does this represent your life already?
Did you realize that every time your phone lights up and you receive a social media alert, your brain squirts a little dopamine, it is the reward, the pleasure drug? You literally cannot help yourself when that little bright red light pops up and you receive a text or a message and you respond instantly, yes instantaneously to the other person, you start setting an expectation that you are available, all the time and you teach that other person that you respond when it is convenient for them, not you, them.
This is how we teach other people how to treat us. This is cause and effect and then you wonder why your friends get upset when you don’t respond instantly because you have just taught them to expect that of you. Setting healthy boundaries is important in order to mitigate this. If you told people hey, I return phone calls between this time and that time, and I reply to text messages and emails from this time to this time, you are doing yourself a huge favor and people respect healthy boundaries.
Do you really want other people to dictate your life and the decisions you make because you don’t have any self-control and you cannot wait to get back to them and get distracted from your task at hand? Is that any way to live a life and get a lot of things accomplished? Uh, I don’t think so, that is a sure way of getting everything you DON’T want in life.
Do you think it is a productive use of your time to know about everyone else’s amazing vacations to the Caribbean last weekend because you spent a portion of your day following them on social media, liking all of their posts, photos and making comments? What could you have been doing instead? Working on your goals, working at your job or on your business, spending time with your loved ones, reaching your dreams, and being more productive I am sure! Not to say you don’t care about your friends whom you love. But you have only a limited amount of time to get the things done that you say you want to, don’t waste your precious time on things that don’t matter and create a life based around your values.
However, sometimes you are going to have to choose to love yourself enough and have the discipline to know your time is truly valuable and a commodity that you cannot get back. Call your friends instead and go out to meet them and actually, converse about their vacation!
If people’s lives or stories or sob stories are consuming you, then you are being a victim of your own decisions and succumbing to what I call the ‘drone’ syndrome. Is this you? I have been extremely guilty of it, so I know exactly what it’s like and how hard it is to NOT mindlessly scroll the feed.
If you think you are going to miss out on something fantastic because you didn’t log in to your social media frenzy for the day, think again, the only thing you are going to miss out on is your own life, your own goals, and your own dreams.
Are You Addicted to Social Media?
Did you know on average, when people log into social media or some type of app, that they log in on average 9 times a day for approximately 11 minutes? That is 99 minutes a day, every day! Have you any idea how much time that really is? You could learn a language in that time, or a new skill, or write a book in the time you spent being distracted. Do you feel like you are ‘lost’ if you forget your phone for the day? Or you find yourself driving home because you forgot your phone and just had to have it?
Or have you accepted mediocrity and started living your life according to the standards that others have set for you? Or have you forgotten the most important person in your life, YOU? Because you were too busy getting your rush of dopamine that you forgot how important it was to go to the gym and maintain your health. With things like obesity being at the most rampant it’s been since we are so sedentary, do you want to be part of the revolution that makes life happen or lets life happen to them?
The best part is, the privilege is yours to choose. So will you choose wisely? Or you are going to be living a life based on someone else’s expectations on how you SHOULD live and let that govern your life? Or be dealing with a mass of things that you don’t want instead of being immersed and in love with the things that you DO want?
Companies pay a lot of money to have your attention be fixated on certain things. In life, you are constantly being barraged by intelligent advertising and strategic marketing and if you have chosen to live in that drone or hypnotized state, you are not really going to live the greatest expression of yourself now are you?
Here is How Social Media is Ruining Our Lives.
- YOU waste A LOT of time on it.
- So many of us have become narcissists and egomaniacs (eek!)
- You have trouble moving on after a relationship.
- It makes you have FOMO and especially needy
- Nobody actually listens to each other anymore
- You don’t care about your grammar or spelling anymore
- You become more competitive with your fellow human
- Nothing is private or sacred anymore
- Social media bullying
- We believe everything we see as truth
- We are connecting less and less with people
- We learn to criticize and judge everything
Social media is one of the most amazing innovations in the world today and that is undeniable. Social Media is not the enemy, it is your inability to manage your time on it and the way in which you choose to utilize it. It is your own self-imposed lack of discipline which is the enemy. It is what you CHOOSE to do which stops you from your dreams, goals and achieving your vision.
There is absolutely no repudiating that it has transformed our lives for the better, it helps our businesses flourish, information has literally become instantaneous and at the touch of our fingertips with little or no lag time at all and if you are like me, it helps me stay connected to my family in Australia and overseas.
However, in some instances, it has become our worst enemy and due to the time we waste on it, it may be deterring us from our goals and our dreams. I challenge you to turn off your social media notifications, disengage from your phone (I know, scary ha?) when you go out to eat with the important people in your life and try some healthy old-fashioned conversation and connection.
Don’t wake up one day realizing that your life is everything you don’t want. My greatest desire for you is that you wake up living the life that you do want and you are madly in love with.
To your happiness, your connectedness, and your success.
References: Prince Ea (2014). Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? Online Video Clip. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRl8EIhrQjQ [Accessed: April 17 2016]