Aspirations are a thing of the past. And, motivation is all burnt up. Kids don’t dream about big futures and reaching huge goals as much anymore, because they can get on their phones and watch someone else that has already done what they themselves could have achieved.
It’s 6 am.
You just woke up, and you’re still tired. You don’t want to get out of bed for your morning workout just yet, so you grab your phone and start scrolling through Twitter. Next thing you know, it’s 6:45, and you’re definitely going to be late.
Now it’s 11 am. You’ve been working out for 3 hours, and you’re ready for a break. But, you still have an hour until lunch. So, you pull out your phone and start playing Candycrush for a little brain break. Oops, now it’s lunchtime and you’ve wasted a full hour of practice time. Hopefully, your coach didn’t notice that.
Then it’s 6 pm. You’ve just gotten home from class and you have a million things to do. But, you’re drained — you had a long day. So, you tell yourself, “just one episode of The Office before I start making dinner.” All of a sudden, it’s 8 pm and you’re ordering some greasy food for dinner because you’re still glued to the couch and you only have three more episodes until the finale anyway.
It’s 11 pm. You get into bed and pull out your phone to distract yourself from the guilt of accomplishing so little since you got home. You scroll through Twitter, then Facebook, and maybe play just a few more levels of Candycrush.
It’s 1 am. You fall asleep with your phone on your chest and will definitely not be getting enough sleep.
It’s really not news that technology seriously sucks the time out of our days.
We pull out our phones when we have even one minute of free time. We distract ourselves from responsibilities by binge-watching Netflix. We send pictures of the floor or wall at random times of the day just to keep our Snapchat streaks.
Like it or not, technology is a serious time waster.
And who is affected by the negative effects of technology the most? Young people.
College students, high schoolers, and even middle schoolers now are experiencing the harsh repercussions of constant connection, constant distraction, and constant time-sucking. And either they don’t realize it, or they just don’t care.
Sure, our phones tell us every week how much screen time we’ve put in Sunday through Saturday. But, does that amount of time really sink into our brains?
College students spend 8–10 hours a day staring just at their phones. High schoolers spend about 9 hours. And, middle schoolers? 6 hours. And these numbers don’t even factor in how much time is spent on laptops or watching television.
So, what happens when we spend half, a third, or a quarter of our day just staring at screens? We get lazy.
With phones, Netflix, and WiFi virtually everywhere we go, we begin to form this mentality that everything we want should be given instantaneously. And when we have to wait or work toward things, we’re not used to it. So, we give up more quickly, because we don’t think it’s worth the time.
Now, let’s look at the older generation. Our parents, grandparents, and teachers that grew up before all this technology took over the world and started messing with our lives.
They didn’t have phones to swipe through when things got awkward waiting in line. They didn’t have laptops to do research for school or type up their 15-page papers. They didn’t have access to thousands of episodes of entertainment all at once just via Netflix.
But, you know what they did have? Time.
Without the constant use and distraction of technology, they had more time on their hands to do other things. They pursued their hobbies and passions, fostered knowledge on topics that intrigued them, and worked their asses off day in, day out to get what they wanted. Even if that meant devoting years to improving a skill they wanted to master.
Unfortunately, that “let’s get to it” mindset just doesn’t exist nearly as much as it used to. Instead, kids don’t want to have to work super hard to get what they want. They want to put forth just enough effort to get by so they can spend more time on their screens, away from the real world.
And one industry that’s really hurting from this new lazy mentality, is sports.
The world of sports is drastically changing alongside the rapid evolution of technology.
Because of things like the internet, smartphones, and overall constant access to digital time-suckers, kids have more opportunities than ever.
But, the majority of them just aren’t taking advantage of these opportunities, because they can’t reap the rewards of hard work instantaneously.
They have been taught the same things almost everyone in America heard growing up, “you can do anything, be anything you want if you just work hard enough.”
But, when they do work hard and put their effort into something and don’t see results right away, they can get frustrated, discouraged, and unmotivated to keep pursuing their goals. And this causes real problems for both student-athletes and coaches.
When kids care less about pursuing their athletic talents and dreams, then they miss out on amazing opportunities that could potentially open huge doors for them in the future.
And, when coaches set out to recruit top talent for their teams, they are met with athletes that lack drive, motivation, and, most importantly, a love for playing the game.
This can lead to serious conflict in the locker room and on the court for both parties involved. Because the coach is from a generation that believes in hard work and dedication to achieve athletic feats. While the athlete is from a generation that tends to give up when the going gets tough.
But, being an athlete isn’t about instant gratification. It’s about loving the game so much that you want to be the best so that you can play it for as long as possible. It’s about working hard and practicing to hopefully one day be the best. And, it’s about staying committed and motivated to achieving that goal.
The main problem here is self-awareness. Kids need to be made aware of the detrimental effects technology can have on their motivation and work ethic.
What kids need to realize is that success cannot be achieved by a push of a button. If you want something, you have to go get it. If you want to be better, you have to work at it. No one is going to hand you what you want, you have to go grab it.
Chad Q. Brown’s Profile is a retained consulting firm incorporating distinct team building and talent strategies utilizing proprietary technology and behavioral assessment infrastructure. Our mission — help people get better at people.
Chad Q. Brown