Seeking Instant Gratification – Is Your Life Negatively Affected?


Seeking Instant Gratification – Is Your Life Negatively Affected?

Observing common human behaviors, it seems that we are wired to seek instant gratification as supposed to keeping the longer term big picture benefits in mind.

And modern living, a lot of it brought about by the wonders of modern technology, seems to have worsened the situation.

Think about it – at the turn of a tap, most of us who are reading this article have access to fresh, clean, potable water; at the flick of a switch, we have light at any time of the day; open the cabinet or the fridge and we have food at our fingertips, food and beverages which we can chill with ice or heat over the stove; and at the push of a few buttons, we have hundreds of television channels available to us in an instant.

Compared to our ancestors from centuries ago, or our animal counterparts in the wild, we barely have to put in much effort (other than working hard to earn the money to fund these amenities) to enjoy food, water, a warm shower, a controlled temperature environment, and various forms of entertainment.

There is no longer the need to rub sticks to try to start a fire, or walk miles to fetch a few liters of water from the well, or stalk and hunt animals for meat.

With the internet, information – tons of it – flows to our eyes and brains at a few clicks of the mouse. Whereas in the past, the idea of research and gathering information entailed making a physical trip to the library and scouring through dozens of books and old newspaper clips, things have taken on a different turn today.

Mobile internet, which has really caught on in the past few years, has brought things to a new level. Now we can carry the world with us everywhere we go. We can keep in touch with friends half the world away, obtain all the latest news worldwide, and get virtually any information we need with a few taps of our smart phones.

There is a lot of good in all the above, no doubt about it. But instant gratification tendencies may tend to harm us more than help us.

Partly because of our desire for instant gratification, we seek pleasures like unhealthy food, cigarettes and alcohol to meet our immediate needs and wants, jolly well knowing that they damage our health in the long run. Going for a jog or running on a treadmill has better long term benefits, but lying and lazing on a couch flipping through cable TV channels sounds more appealing for now.

Most of us want success. We want to do well in our careers and make a lot of money. We want good relationships. We want to be healthy and fit. Some of us even want to be great sportsmen. But all these and other objectives usually require some degree of hard work and short term sacrifice for long term gain, and that interferes with our wish for gratification, comfort and enjoyment right now.

And you could argue that many individuals and even nations have raked up mountains of financial debt because they have enjoyed today without much care for tomorrow.

Is the desire for instant gratification interfering with your long term life goals?

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