I’ve been reading this book lately on productivity, “15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management.” It’s funny because the title advertises only 15 secrets when it has a chapter of 101 things learned from highly successful high school / college students. You don’t see many people undersell to this degree. It’s like an Enterprise salesmen saying, “Yeah, I’ll see if I can get you an upgrade from that Toyota Yaris” and then showing up with a Mercedes CLK. At any rate, in this chapter, many of the students talk about their daily rituals or “tips of the trade,” when it comes to making straight A’s and getting into some of the best college in America, i.e. Harvard, Yale, UNC-Pembroke (Just kidding about UNCP, but it IS a great school! Go Braves!). One consistent theme among that I noticed was how they all limited their time on social media. It’s interesting because none of them said they eliminated social media all together (they didn’t want to be smart dweebs), but they all said that they needed some type of governor to limit their time on this. This led me to remember the realization I made about this over a year ago in which I recognized how much time I was wasting on social media during the day, checking “updates” on this or that and how this was, little by little, distracting me from me being as locked in as possible during the day. Therefore, I made the decision that I never checked social media in any capacity until AFTER the work day was done. From this, I realized a large increase in my focus, and it made a tremendous difference in my ability to just stay as productive as possible. As I thought about it however, there are several other reasons that people should limit and monitor their addiction to social media if they are truly serious about being successful in their lives.
I. It makes people compare themselves to the unreal/highly unlikely
The phenomenon of people comparing themselves to others has been taking place since the beginning of time. From the first time the caveman looked out and saw that his cave was a little bigger than his. It was accelerated greatly with television years ago in which supermodels and actresses/actors began to rule our viewing world. For this reason, anorexia and bulimia became torrent throughout the world, with people trying to create the image that they saw on the big screen. With social media these days, it has become even worse as now people have access to even more visuals of what “beauty” is out there in the world and have even more reasons to find themselves underwhelming. What’s more concerning about what is consistently being portrayed throughout the Instagram/Facebook world these days is that much of it (thanks to the Kardashians and Dr. Miami’s of the world) is not natural in any respect and teaches people to change who they are by using money and plastic surgery, as opposed to earning it through sweat equity (exercising) or focusing on who they are internally more, as that’s truly what matters in the long run. Therefore, it’s creating a world in which superficial looks are praised more than intellectual prowess, and individuals are not inclined to work to look better but rather just pay for it. What this has created, however, are individuals who continue to extremely dislike themselves because they can’t live up to the images that they see every day or people who take it too far and end up looking worse than they began in the long run – think Lil Kim 10 years ago versus now.
It makes you focus on the WRONG things.
One of my friends replied to one of my weekly post this week about how effort is the one thing that you can control and if you truly want to be successful you have to maximize your effort on all the things that are important. His response was that their are a number of people who try hard but still get nowhere. This was correct, I responded. But the caveat to what I was going for was that you have to focus your effort on the RIGHT things. If you are doing the wrong things every day, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into it, you’re not going to be long term successful. Social media, unfortunately, has created a world in which the “wrong” things often are what get the most attention and likes because negativity and foolishness just sells. Whether if it’s focused on the latest Trick Daddy rant, hip hop beef, or fight in some low socioeconomic neighborhood, often the material that runs viral through social media is in no way going to help anyone improve their 401k, get better scores on their SAT’s, or plan out their next business venture. It is often just mindless information that, in the past, we only had access to when we were vegging out at home, but now we have access to at any place and time on our phones. And while you might think there’s nothing better to do than to catch up on your social media while sitting on the “porcelin throne”, if more people spent that time getting caught up on current world events than Insta events, I’m sure more people would know ISIL, Al Quaeda and The Taliban are NOT the same and the answers to some of these basic questions about the world.
III. It’s the largest time suck EVER.
When the internet first started becoming popular, people began to realize that they were interested in things that they didn’t even know existed before. This was a good thing because many people began to realize they had a passion for things that they didn’t even know existed before. The problem with this, however, was that you would often find yourself down a rabbit hole, as you would click on one thing after another. The next thing you know two hours of your life are gone, and you are watching a video of some Siberian sled dogs barking BoyzIIMen’s “Uptown Philly.” You can end up at some strange places because of the internet. Social media has taken this to an entirely new level, as the sites are often designed to get you lost in endless connections of watching videos and posts of who responded to whom in the Twittersphere. It has often been said that the main difference between the successful and unsuccessful is how they have spent and will spend their time. There is no better indicator of this than the time spent by individuals on social media sites. Show me someone who spends most of their time on social media, and I’ll show you someone who probably isn’t killing it in the financial freedom department. And while there are those like King Bach and King Keraun (I wonder why they decided to KING themselves?) who have made a living off of their social media accounts, you have a better chance of becoming an NBA player (3 in every 10,000) than becoming them – mostly because athletes are only competing against other people who are on the taller side and have worked years on their basketball skills to be in that position, while you would be competing against the other billions of people in the world who think they are halfway funny and would do anything to get a like. Take these people for example.
Social media. While it’s fun to see what the Kardashians are doing with their free time and how Beyonce killed at the BET awards, if we aren’t careful to monitor our social media time, we could be at risk of being in the same bucket with the millions of people who make social media life every day. They are consistently updating it, checking it, and responding to everything on it, while they should be investing that same time and energy into improving themselves as human beings. And while I’ll admit that there’s a lot of content out there that’s funny and can be a great stress reliever and break from working/studying AFTER you’ve earned it, trying to find every Crying Jordan meme ever created probably isn’t going to get you any closer to achieving your dreams. Besides, there’s isn’t that much time in the world! Here are some of the best though! Enjoy and Happy Fourth of July weekend!