Daily Blog (5 of 31): Respect the Game

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Social media is, on paper ironically, a blessing. It affords us the opportunity to connect with people around the world, create business and personal opportunities that we would otherwise never have been able to even fathom, and connects us with our nostalgic past. 

 

But social media is a business and therefore money must be made. Unfortunately your connecting with an old high school friend does not pay the bills for the social media operators. Instead, the game is that you are there for connection and during the time you are spending they would sprinkle in (at first) opportunities for 3rd parties to make a buck off of you. But to do this they had to guarantee to the marketers that you would be actively scrolling for long periods of time. 

 

If you are under the impression that your phone addiction is the result of your lacking will power, you have no idea what you are up against.  

 

Men and women thoroughly trained in the art of grabbing and keeping attention are working against you. They are smarter than you, have more data and technology at their disposal than you, are paid more than you, and they are rewarded for every second longer you spend on their site or app. 

 

Were you one of the ones who got upset with the variety of algorithms that have been rolled out (and sometimes immediately rolled back) over the years on apps like Facebook and Instagram (same company, by the way)? Well, these were data based decisions based on your level of engagement. These were not implemented by chance. 

 

When we talk about our inability to fall asleep and it turns out we spend minutes and hours staring at Instagram we often feel like we are failing ourselves. And sure, we are ultimately responsible. 

 

But if we recognize the skill and expertise being used to keep us up at night then we start to take more seriously the challenges ahead of us. 

 

Respect the game. You do not walk into a car dealership thinking the sales person is not going to try and take advantage of you. You walk in with your guard up. Some like the challenge more than others but we all know the challenge is there. 

 

Food choice is no different. 

 From  The Power of Habit  by Charles Duhigg

From The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

 

If you are under the impression that you are an independent thinker when it comes to what you choose to eat, what you consider healthy, what you know about how it impacts every aspect of your life, go ahead and laugh at yourself now. Ill wait. 

 

Food is a business. And it is BIG business. And big business does not leave anything to chance. 

 

A Frappucinno should not exist. And every one that is sold should be seen as an assault on the well being of humans everywhere. No? What purpose does it serve? Ok, good answer. But couldn’t the customer receive the same enter your answer here elsewhere? It’s a sweet treat is it? So is a coconut milk macchiato. It’s coffee? Well, this one is easy: No It’s Not. It’s cold? Suck on an ice cube. 

 

When you feel your blood begin to boil when I suggest your life would be better off without the precedence of a certain food choice or product in your life, take a moment to reflect. Why are you so tied to that food? Why is it so unfair that a food that was literally manufactured to play on your tendency toward addiction should be put on the “Not a great idea” list? 

 

We turn up our nose at cigarette smokers, but donuts are bragged about. Alcoholism is crazy bad, but your soda addiction is mildly inconvenient at worst. The fact that you cannot get through your day without a processed treat is a red flag. 

 

Reframe the process. We tell you to stay on the outsides of the grocery store not because there is nothing in the aisles that we find useful but because there is far more in those aisles that has been marketed to us with billions of dollars in advertisements and programs to the point that it really would not be our fault if we fell for it. So do not give them the chance. 

 

The vegetable industry is not advertising on your kids tv shows. Neither is the fruit industry or the meat industry. Water, black coffee and tea, eggs, all have yet to launch their million dollar campaigns. 

 

But walk down those aisles and you’ll recall commercial after commercial. This particular product is the one that looks so good on tv. And this is the one where it gives you all of that protein in each serving thanks the high presence of no actual protein. 

 

At the end of the day, “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” Only one of those industries pays for your attention and it’s not meat or vegetables or nuts and seeds or fruit or starch (Imagine an animated sweet potato bounding around the screen to some cool hip music tempting your little ones to  urge you to buy it. That would be nice). 

 

These trash foods are such big business because they cost these giant corporations nothing to make but their addictive qualities and high profit margins mean any consideration for your actual well being goes straight out the window. 

 

Ignorance is not bliss. Know what you are up against and step your game up. Life is too short for us to be so damn mediocre because of a little sugar.

-Ben