• Sherina Chandra

The Most Important Driver to Your Success is Being Taken Away From You (and you don't even know it)

I'm gonna get right to the punchline, it's self-acceptance, and it's being taken away from you by the way of social media - keep reading to find out how and why.

Maslow, a popular psychologist famously known for his contribution to humanistic psychology on human motivation, devoted his research towards understanding the positive sides of humanity. He focused on self-actualizing people and developed the hierarchy of needs. I'm addressing the 3rd and 4th tier - love and belonging and esteem which are interconnected with self acceptance, Maslow cites that self-actualizing individuals "can accept their own human nature, with all its shortcomings, with all its discrepancies from the ideal image without feeling real concern” (Maslow, 1970).

Social Media's Role in Your Success

Well, social media giants such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat know a lot about the psychology of people and they are aware that self-acceptance is a basic human need for everyone. That is why they have created platforms that foster community, belonging and self-showcasing. So, you may be asking what's wrong with that? Well, they've identified how attain your attention for long periods of time giving you the illusion that you 'belong' and that you are widely 'accepted.' What separates actual successful people not just in terms of their wealth but their well-being is exactly that, their well-being.

There have been thousands of studies conducted over the last decade that have concluded that social media has contributed to the rise of anxiety and depression throughout the world today. One study amongst 164 undergraduate American women found,

Women whose self-worth was dependent on social media feedback reported lower levels of resilience and self-kindness and higher levels of stress and depressive symptoms. Additionally, women whose self-worth was highly dependent on social media feedback and who were seeking social status in their online interactions reported higher levels of stress. The present findings suggest that women whose self-worth is dependent on social media feedback are at higher risk for poorer psychological well-being, which has implications for practice and policy regarding women’s mental health. (Sabik et al, 2019).

If you can relate, then social media may have had a role in diminishing your success, but don't worry now you have become aware and there is a lot that you can do!

Sugar, Alcohol, Gambling and Social Media - The Common Bond

It's dopamine - that feel good hormone which is linked with the reward center of your brain. Each time you encounter feel good experiences you eventually learn addictive behaviours which can compromise your well-being. I've created a short read for you, click here to read the science and find out how this all works. Social media gains your attention in a similar manner as slot machines do and it comes down to design:

  • Swipe down to refresh - it's similar to the lever of a slot machine whereby you pull it to see if you win anything. You swipe down to find your rewards in the form of likes and follows.

  • Likes, follows, comments, DMs they act as rewards - it's all about keeping you online and on their platforms. Why? The more you scroll, the more information they receive about your behaviour and interests which can be sold to marketers.

  • Allegedly, posts with more skin baring pictures and more dramatic headlines will be pushed out more. Why? Again, it grabs your attention and keeps you hooked.

  • Providing you with in-app filters and other features is another way to keep your attention. Yep, again because retains your attention.

The Takeaway

This is the formula: Trigger (anxiety, depression), Action (scroll through social media feeds, post (fake) pictures of yourself to feel better, Attention (likes, comments and follows), Investment (your time, your self worth, your information and your money to boost posts).... which then feeds your point of trigger (anxiety and depression) and you go through this never-ending loop until you develop self-awareness and set boundaries and develop healthy ways to use social media. Click here to find out what you can do.

If you want to comment, you can privately and knowing that your information is not being used to build a list. Just e-mail me via this comment form. Let me what you think. I'll be posting more information as I learn.

If you are seeking resources to help you attain positive well-being, click here to a list of free researched material and reflection journals.


Sabik, N.J., Falat, J. & Magagnos, J. When Self-Worth Depends on Social Media Feedback: Associations with Psychological Well-Being. Sex Roles82, 411–421 (2020).

#selfworth #success #dopamine

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