Interestingly, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other tech gurus were and are reportedly very strict about their children’s technology use. That should make us think long and hard about our own use, and what we teach our children about the intersection of technology and life.
There’s no escaping technology today, but how we interact with our devices and the time we devote to engaging with them influences our success and our own perceptions of our success, including how accomplished we feel about our physical health, family, and financial situation.
Have you ever wonder if there are significant differences in technology usage among people who consider themselves “highly successful” versus those who feel “highly unsuccessful?”
ResumeLab decided to find out, and threw under the microscope 1,000 professionalsto explore the relationships of routines, device preferences, social media usage, and screen time with their perceptions of their own success.
To learn more about the implications of these findings, I caught up with Maciej Duszynski, a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. A certified professional resume writer with over 8 years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and training, Duszynski shares insider HR knowledge to equip job seekers with professional advice to nail the job hunt. His insights have been featured by the Chicago Tribune, Toggl, SparkPeople, Referral Rock, and Databox, among others.
Here’s what Duszynski shares about tech usage among those who consider themselves highly successful:
Kathy Caprino: First, what did you find the most surprising in the way people define success?
Maciej Duszynski: It’s an interesting question, how we define success today. Many would say fame and money. After all, we’re constantly told to push harder, double down on our work, and all for what? To achieve more.
We don’t have to look much further than popular media to understand such attitudes. The spotlight is cast on the lifestyles of the rich and famous or upper-middle class, projecting ideas of what life should look like at home.
Defining success based solely on your income dismisses the real question we genuinely care about: does it make us happy? When we examine the findings of the longest study on happiness conducted by the Harvard University, which tracked the lives of 724 men for 75 consecutive years, we understand that success isn’t about having a bank account that reaches into the millions—or being recognized on the street. It’s about nurturing good relationships with other people.
This is the essence of what our study captured from everyday people. What makes these individuals define their life as successful?
The top three factors were: health, family, and friends. Those non-material assets—travel, social media following, and sex life—were the least likely to have any connection to success.
Caprino: What does success mean for men and women? Did the study show different results by gender?
Duszynski: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Or so they say. But the analogy doesn’t seem to hold when it comes to the major factors defining success for men and women.
While there are some differences that arise, it’s not as stark as you would imagine. Male respondents tend to define success mostly by the level of their physical health, incomes, and professional achievements. At the same time, women place more emphasis on the quality of their family.
Still, both men and women care about their mental and physical health, along with income. The vast majority of men and women believe income is one of the essential ingredients of success.
One of the explanations for it can be that back in the 1960s, males served as the sole sources of family income in most households, with only 20% of women working full time. Today, the Center for American Progress states that 70% of American children live in households where both parents work full time.
Many women are now primary breadwinners and/or have become significant contributors to the family pot, which slightly tilted their focus more toward material success.
Caprino: What role does social media play in people’s success?
Duszynski: Family and friends are two factors most important for people’s success. And how do we keep such relationships alive in today’s digital age? Social media.
Business consultants and managers would have us believe social media is a productivity killer that drains employees’ performance.
But data shows that successful people believe social media adds value to their day.
In fact, based on our findings, highly successful people average 28 minutes on social media sites every day, devouring updates from friends and sharing memes. Interestingly enough, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit are among the most used social media platforms by highly successful people—not LinkedIn, which might have been an expected choice.
Caprino: What makes highly successful people double down on social media?
Duszynski: There are several reasons for it. First, when you take micro-breaks throughout the day, social media can make us 9% more productive. We’re humans, after all, and it’s hard to be laser-focused for eight hours straight. We all need some downtime to recharge our batteries. What better way than to see the daily lives of our friends and family through feeds.
Sure, being distracted by social media and not placing time limits on its usage will decrease productivity. But put a cap on the time you spend on it and embrace its power of connectivity, just like highly successful people do.
Caprino: What makes people perceive themselves to be highly “unsuccessful?”
Duszynski: Success is in the eye of the beholder. If you place the most value on earning money, then having $1 million on your bank account means you see yourself as successful.
If you think being in a committed relationship is the key to success, having a partner will mean a great deal to you.
Success boils down to how people define success for themselves. Our data shows that respondents who believe themselves to be highly unsuccessful are not able to reach their goals of what it means to be successful.
For instance, while income was among the leading contributions of success, just 6% of respondents believed they were highly successful in this area. Instead, people were more confident when it came to non-material assets—family, relationship status, mental health, and physical health.
It’s also interesting to note that while extremes were more common among men, where almost 36% were “highly successful,” and over 14% were “highly unsuccessful,” women were inclined to describe themselves as just “successful” or “unsuccessful.”
Caprino: What do you perceive to be the most important findings of this study?
Duszynski: Whilesome of our findings fall along the general cultural expectations, others shed some interesting light on the tech habits of the highly successful people we could all learn from. The top five findings from my perspective are:
Highly successful people were more likely to use laptops (over desktops), iPhones, and Alexa-activated devices.
Nearly 57% of people who self-identify as being highly successful acknowledge using health apps, including 63% of women and almost 52% of men.
Highly successful people average 42 minutes on YouTube daily.
More than 53% of highly successful people listen to at least one podcast a day.
Over 1 in 5 highly successful people avoid screen time before bed.
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