Why Our Ability To Delay Gratification Matters
We want it all. Now. As quickly as possible. And it is not surprising.
We are surrounded with things that are designed to deliver instant “happiness”: fast food chains deliver instant meals, mobile apps deliver instant notifications, home equipment delivers instant solutions.
Almost all the stuff around us is available instantly. And it is so convenient. We got used to have it all now. We acquired a habit that is not so easy to get rid of, but it makes us express zero tolerance towards things we have to wait for. Why waiting if we can have it all now?
Losing weight has become “easier” and “quicker” than ever. “Just follow our link to download this weight loss program, and in just 2 weeks you will see incredible results”. What a miracle! What a magic! The only thing that they don’t tell us is that the quicker we lose weight, the quicker we gain it back even with some “surplus”.
“Earn six-figure sum in a month. Here is how.”, “Learn foreign language in just 3 weeks”, “Get into an ideal shape in just 2 weeks”. There are countless examples I could recite right now.
But who actually benefits from these “hollow promises”? I’m sure the answer is already obvious to all of us. We realize that there must be something wrong about all that stuff and that we don’t actually benefit from it, but we still buy-in. Why? Why the phrase “overnight success” makes our heart beat faster? Why promises of “getting billions in a month” increase adrenaline in our blood? Because we seek to get immediate rewards and results. And those “hollow promises” are the perfect food for our inner “instant-gratification monster”.
Most of us acquired that habit of “getting things instantly”. We rush because life is too short. And we don’t even notice how we turn our lives into a race: race for immediate perfection, race for overnight success, race for fast growth. Slowly but surely we are becoming victims of “fast”. We don’t care about consequences. We rarely push “pause button” and reflect about actual value of “fast things” and their long-term impact.
That’s why we give up doing something after a few unsuccessful attempts. We don’t achieve desired results immediately and this leads to quick discouragement. We even fail to make time to do a thorough analysis of why things didn’t work out, why we keep making same mistakes over and over again.
That’s why we don’t get long term results from quick diets. Instead, it all ends up with overeating and putting on even greater weight than it was in a pre-diet period.
That’s why we fail to build meaningful relationships. We expect to get benefit quickly with minimum investment, whereas relationship building, whether personal or professional, requires time, patience and nurturing.
The whole external world creates a buzz around the fast pace of life and dictates us that we must fit in the rhythm else one day we risk to become irrelevant. But what is the price of the “fast”? Does it make our life more meaningful? Does it add more quality? Does it make us happier?
Just look at the kid who craves for sweets. When u give him one sweet, he is happy for a few minutes only. Then the process starts all over again: “Mum, I want another one, and another one, and another one …” Does the kid stay happy for long?
Just think for a moment how quality of our lives would change if we are able to delay gratification.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing light bulb. As he said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” But lot of people expect to "rest on laurels" without making any extra efforts.
There is no such thing as overnight success. And people who don’t expect immediate rewards are the ones who don’t give up too soon. Their mindset helps them to make great achievements. They are not focused on short term results. They are ready to contribute and learn in the process, devote their time and efforts to make a real progress. And they realize that they need to think about impact in the long run, instead of letting impulses take control over them and their lives. They are good at delaying gratification and are firm believers that things worthwhile don’t come easy.
Do you still want it all now? Or maybe the time has come to start living a more meaningful life, and determine its pace and direction on your own?
by Natalie Myhalnytska
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