December 19th 2017
You want it now, but what happens when you get it?
This blog post isn’t exactly holly jolly, but I do think it is a very important topic to discuss around the holidays. Immediate Gratification. Immediate gratification is the desire to get what you want without delay. Also referred to as instant gratification, it is the idea of “I want it and I want it now”, a mindset that our 21st century society runs on.
We live in a world of one click ordering, 2 day shipping, and everything we could possibly want at the touch of a button. Therefore, we expect all things in life to be immediately gratifying and when they aren’t, we break down or give up.
I want to use this blog post to talk about two things. First, I want to talk about how the desire for immediate gratification is counter productive to our success and personal growth. Then, I want to discuss why immediate gratification is not as gratifying as one would expect it to be.
To start, we have all wanted immediate gratification at some point in our lives. Whether it is wanting a new car and not wanting to wait to save the money, wanting a new dog but not being around enough to take care of it, or wanting to learn something new in a sport or hobby you are interested in, but can’t seem to get there as quickly as you’d like. We all want things fast, easy, and now. However, if we were just handed things we wanted with no effort or patience, we would not grow from the experience.
If you were just handed everything you wanted, would you even be motivated to work hard anymore? If what you wanted to do required no effort at all, what would you gain from the experience. Does a new car hold as much significance to you if you didn’t work hard and earn it? Would having a new pet be worth it if you are not ready to take care of one yet? Would a new skill feel as exciting if you didn’t fall down a few times before nailing it? Probably not.
And this brings me to my second point; immediate gratification isn’t truly gratifying. We all get wrapped up in the notion that if we get what we want now, our lives will be better. If I lose 30 lbs, I will be happier. If I get engaged, my life would be complete. If I get a new expensive camera right now, I will be the best photographer in the world. We are setting our sights so strongly on our desired end result that we end up 1. losing sight of our progress 2. feeling discouraged when we don’t get what we want and 3. feeling incredibly confused when we finally get what we wanted and we are still not happy.
Do you ever get something you think you wanted and then realize once you have it, you realize it didn’t make you as happy as you thought it would. The best example I can think of is people who crash diet and lose tons of weight just to realize that they aren’t any happier or fulfilled now that they hit their target. This is because they never praised themselves for their progress.
This also ties back to Christmas. We all have that one thing on our wishlist that we think will fix all of our problems. A new phone, a new car, camera, skateboard, headphones, laptop, etc etc etc. Have you ever thought that maybe the things that you want aren’t going to fix the problems in your life, your determination will.
If you’re a blogger and you’re just handed an account with 20,000 followers, does that make you as excited to work hard as you would be if you started from zero? If you are a skateboarder and you land any trick you try on the first try, is learning as fun? No. Sometimes we have to work for what we want and sometimes we have to wait an uncomfortably long time for the things we desire to pan out.
But do you know what? That is the rewarding part. Working hard and saving money up for that car. Practicing and scraping your knees a hundred times before landing the skateboard trick. Hitting your first milestone on your blog, even if it is only 50 followers. Although we may find cases where immediate gratification is immediately gratifying, delayed gratification has more pay off in the ways of personal growth and the understanding of value.
Remember, be patient, be humble, and work for what you want.