Our society teaches immediate gratification, but it’s robbing you of energy, patience, relationships and many other things. Allowing our minds to expect gratification quickly is dangerous and robs us of peace and joy. It’s time to kick immediate gratification to the curb and start living a fuller life.It's time to kick immediate gratification to the curb and start living a fuller life. Click To Tweet
The Dangerous Cycle
Immediate gratification leads to a very dangerous cycle. You want something and you want it right now. Then, when you get it, you realize it didn’t fulfill you as you had expected. This is the common, “If I could just get this thing, I’d be happier” mantra many live by in modern society.
After you find out the thing you had to have didn’t fulfill you (in some cases, if it’s consumable, it may have made you feel worse), you move onto another things you have to have and the cycle starts over.
This is very dangerous because it heighted your expectations and patience simply isn’t a part of your life. When you have to wait, you turn into a three-year-old throwing a tantrum, even if that’s just in your mind. In fact, you might become angry because something didn’t arrive on time or you can’t have what you want right now.
Why Waiting Leads to Fulfillment
The best things in life we have to wait for and we cannot have immediately. When you wait, you’re more likely to see the thing you’re waiting for as something far more special or at least for what it is. If it’s something that should fulfill you in some way, it will.
Often, waiting allows us to make a better decision. When you decide you don’t want to finance a new car, for example, instead you’ll save cash until you can afford what you want, this will provide a more sound financial decision and you won’t be strapped to a car payment. Sure, you might have to drive a cheaper vehicle for a while so that you can save for what you really want. You’ll likely gain a much better appreciation for the vehicle you’ve been saving for when you can actually buy it, too.
Instant Gratification Robs Us as HumansPracticing instant gratification is robbing you every single day. Click To Tweet
Practicing instant gratification is robbing you every single day. When you think you should have something immediately, you become entitled, which is a horrible way to live. It robs you of energy, causes stress and anxiety, takes away your opportunity to grow and even causes health issues. Anything causing stress or anxiety will eventually come out in a physical way.
We are built to learn and grow through waiting. Patience is actually defined as prolonged suffering and it’s something Christians pray for. It’s also something we all need in our lives, as waiting helps us grow and widens our perspective on life. In addition, when we wait, it’s usually because we have to earn something through hard work, which makes it far more worth having.
Kicking Instant Gratification to the Curb
It all starts with perspective and flipping “Need” and “Want” upside down. There are so many things in modern society that are put in front of us as a “Need” and even a “can’t live without” that we can certainly survive and even thrive without. Redefining what a need and a want are in your life is just the start.
Needs only include food, water, shelter and those things falling under the category of actually needing to survive. Yes, you can survive without the newest smartphone or any smartphone for that matter. You can survive without being the social butterfly you think you need to be and you can survive without probably 90% of what you have in your daily life.
I am not trying to say you should live without those things you want, but realizing you don’t need something to survive will help give you a different perspective on the world. When you understand what you truly need and what it is you want, you can start breaking the curse of instant gratification.
The next step is to stop expecting anything and stop believing you’re entitled to anything in this life. Our lives have been given to us as a gift and we need to treat them as a gift. Instead of expecting things and using entitlement to justify our tantrums, we have to learn to live a life without expectation.The hard truth is very simple; you're not entitled to anything. Click To Tweet
The hard truth is very simple; you’re not entitled to anything. In fact, everything you have is a gift and should be treated as such. If we treated everything we own as a gift, we’d probably get back to the waste not, want not, which will certainly help with instant gratification issues.
Finally, you have to become aware of the instant gratification mentality. A comedian I heard once had a joke about teenagers expecting things on the internet to appear super-fast. He made the joke that the signal or data has to go all the way to space before it arrives, yet we want it RIGHT NOW. Obviously, he’s better at telling the joke than I ever will be, but his joke is reality for many people.
In fact, in the online marketing world, website owners use many tools to ensure their site will load super-fast because if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, they lose visitors. We can’t even wait 3 seconds for a website to load. WOW!
The final step in breaking the curse of instant gratification is simply to become aware. When you notice your inner three-year-old coming out because you want it and you want it now, become aware of these thoughts and take a deep breath. The deep breath will become a trigger and you will relax and realize your life is great without whatever you think you need or want and you’ll get it when you get it. You’ll start to live a more peaceful life without needing/wanting everything immediately....instant gratification is one of the major plagues of mainstream society today. Click To Tweet
Personally, I think instant gratification is one of the major plagues of mainstream society today. I think we could all do well to live in a cabin by a lake for about a month without any technology and without any type of connection to the outside world. This time would be spent learning what we truly need and what we truly have to have right now. It would also allow for silence, which is another thing we don’t have enough of in this world.
When was the last time you felt instant gratification setting in over something that seems far more important at the time than it really was? Leave your answer in the comments below.