Are you always dreaming but never doing? Do you blame others for your lack of success? Does it seem like you can never catch a break? And most of all, are you unhappy with your current life situation? You might be suffering from Slacker Syndrome.
Okay, Slacker Syndrome is not a real thing in that there is no clinical definition with such a title, but there should be.
Through out history, there have always been folks who slide through life, living under the radar of responsibility, relying on others to support them and that will never change. Today though, it seems as though there is an epidemic of slackers, but is that true or is there something else going on here.
The first thing I will say is that society has made it very easy for people to avoid life. We live in a culture that is full of opportunities to waste time. Technology has become an addiction for the masses. We spend inappropriate amounts of time on entertainment diversions. Video games, T.V., internet, social media, Netflix, all vie for our time. We are all under a technology spell.
Let’s look at some numbers. This is for the age group 18-30. Why this age group? Because this is the stage in one’s life where you should be out developing yourself; finding your way in the world, studying and developing skills, and basically building a foundation for future success, and because 96% of this age group own a smartphone where they have instant access to every type of media at their finger tips, 24/7.
Based on a quick online search, and using the medium for time spent on social media, gaming, and watching T.V. or live streaming, the average 18-30 spends 3 hours a day with these forms of entertainment. That’s almost 46 days a year, a month and a half of the year wasted that could be spent creating a better life.
Yes that is an average, and yes, not all people in this age group spend time on these activities but I challenge you to find even one person between 18-30 who does not enjoy one or more of these modern time wasters. The point is that they are time wasters and time is a finite commodity. There will never be more than 24 hours in a day – never ever.
So what. Why would we care if young people waste their free time on media? Because when they spend time in fantasy, and that is what most media is, they don’t spend time in reality. Time that is needed to learn about themselves, time to decide what their likes and dislikes are, time to figure out what they want out of life, and time to focus on real life dreams and goals.
With out even realizing it, modern media entertainment is creating a large segment of clarity lacking, life avoiding, resentful slackers. I add resentful here because technologies like gaming and highly staged and filtered social media sites such as Instagram or TicToc, give the user a little dopamine hit of instant gratification which alters their perception of reality. Think of an heroine addict, they will get very agitated if they are unable to get their high of choice and instead are only given something that balances their system to a normal, everyday level. That little techno wonder in your hand works the same way. Have you ever seen a teenager in withdrawal when their technology has been taken away?
What if those same young people applied those 3 hours a day to a mode of study, or perfecting a skill, or even being out in the world learning about all the options that are available to them? Youth is a time for experimentation after all, it is the time in one’s life where you make choices that are meant to move you forward into adulthood. How much farther ahead would they be in life even after a year of applied focus?
But this realization is not just for the youth of the world. You didn’t think I’d give the rest of us a pass did you? How long were you up today before you picked up your phone to check your own social media? Is that the T.V. blaring in the background as you read this post? The phrase, “binge watching” wasn’t even a around a decade ago and yet we banter it about as we compare our leisure time activities from the evening before with our coworkers during our work break. What if you spent that same time learning something new or used some of your free time to work on perfecting a skill or hobby?
This post is by no means meant to be a guilt fest. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for your entertainment choices. I’m actually trying to empower you. Because when you become aware of the patterns that dominate your life, you are then able to see how they effect your life. Are they helping, or are they hindering who you want to be and how you want to live?
We all have a little slacker syndrome in us. We all have the need to drone out in mindless entertainment from time to time and we now live in a world where diversion is at our fingertips, but like everything else that gives a feel good boost, moderation is key.
So my little piece of advise to you is this: I love to slack off with the best of you. Hell you wouldn’t be reading my blog if you didn’t imbibe in a little slacking now and then, but do so in moderation, there is so much more to experience in this one life we have been given than what we experience looking at a screen. Reality is always more rewarding, the screen is infinite and the buzz is life affirming.
In conclusion, I want to thank you for giving me a little piece of your slacking world. With out you wasting time visiting my site, I would not, in turn, get the little dopamine hit of pleasure that I do from sharing my thoughts with you. You are my feel good dealers and I am addicted to your support.
So slack on and enjoy the ride, but do so in moderation, there is so much more out there in the actual world that will give you the same gratification but with the added boost of amazing memories, personal achievement and real world dreams come true.