I’d like to start with a quote from a man called Simon Sinek, and this quote is “every generation is affected by the environments in which they grow up.” Now I found Simon on the internet researching this topic, he’s a great speaker and I recommend you all check him out. But I’m not here to advertise, I’m here to ask you all a question, are you doomed to fail? Our generation is being brought up in a world with endless possibilities, and we are taught by our teachers, our parents, and our idols that we can take hold of any one of those possibilities and you will feel fulfilled. Home prices are going up, while our wages are doing nothing to compensate, we are wracked with debt as soon as we finish our education and are cursed with the highest suicide rates in recorded history! There is a lot of crap our generation has to deal with, but I think our biggest challenge is our addiction to the screen, our obsession with social media and our lack of social ability. Because without interaction, we can’t even take the first step in this journey we call, ‘life.’
2 Science & social media
A couple of years ago I did a speech on ‘Why money can buy happiness,’ and at the time, I thought I was right, the facts were there, everything just lined up. However, looking back with my current knowledge, I realized just how wrong I was. I had given a speech, lying to my class, to my teacher and to myself, because I fully believed I was right. Now my excuse was the Dopamine, the happy chemical, that when released into your body say if you bought something you liked, or you wanted, was technically buying happiness. However, it was actually buying you an internal prison, of addiction, and numbed feelings. It was really bad.
See when you release dopamine into your body, it feels good, and people get hooked on that, its that ‘high on life’ feeling, and that’s what you are. You are ‘high on life’. Its the happiness drug. However like most drugs, dopamine comes at a cost, and that cost is addiction. You love that feeling, and so you seek more of it! That is where it goes down hill. Because like the instant gratification of buying things you like, there are other ways of releasing dopamine. This can be through alcohol, bad, smoking, bad, gambling, life ruining, so how can social media an exception?
After continuous use of chemical drugs, they begin to stop working. So when we apply this to dopamine, our happy chemical, we begin to lose touch of the normal things that make us happy. We forget that the world, we live in, is beautiful. We forget that our friends can make us happy. And in case you didn’t notice, forgetting such basic knowledge, is bad.
Now onto social media. Social media is one of our biggest dopamine escapes. So how is social media affecting our happiness? Well, let me start by saying, we all seek attention, we all want to be noticed, and we all want to be appreciated, because it feels good! Now imagine that we can do that at any time, anywhere and get praises from the hundreds to thousands; for taking a photo of our cereal before we eat it. We are brought up in a world where we are praised for everything we do. However studies have shown, that the more we are praised, the less we actually feel appreciated. This is because we are dulling our happiness chemicals effects, and we are doing this now! We have only taken the first few steps on this road of life, and yet we are jeopardizing our well being for the whole trip. A real life compliment from a friend feels dull, and we are ever seeking of more fake attention to fill the hole we have dug for ourselves, by seeking it in the first place, and its gotten bad. We are addicted!
So the next question is, “We have this hole, how do we get rid of it?”
To do this takes a lot of self control, and just like all addictions, it will be hard. You’ll be irritated, you’ll stress about it, you’ll feel as if you are going to explode. You have to, now bear with me on this one, leave your phones at home. And I know what your all going to say, “I need it for emergencies,” “I need it in case my parents call me,” “I need it for when I’m bored on the toilet.” Well let me tell you something, you are making excuses for yourself. The school will be called in emergencies, and by your parents if it is so important. I sit in a class and every morning the teacher has to tell their students to put their phones away, and the students ignore them. We are the most social anti-socials in history, and this unconnected connection is a major cause of bullying, depression and suicide. This is bad. So stop the bad, by being good. And be good, by leaving your phones at home.