MIND

HOW INSTANT GRATIFICATION TAKES OVER YOUR LIFE

READING TIME: 4 MIN.

When we think about power, we think of someone influential that can control the economy or an entire continent. Mother nature is another representation of power.

However, there is one feeling that is as powerful in our lives as Mother Nature, Wall Street or the drug cartels.

Instant gratification

This feeling has powerfully flourished in current times and it´s being imprinted in people´s minds since the early ages of infancy.

You´re feeling sad? Eat ice-cream, go shopping, get a pedicure, drink a few beers or inhale a few lines. Hell!! Shoot up if it´ll make you feel better. Who cares about tomorrow right?

“Live in the present” has taken a negative turn in many people’s minds. We can believe that living in the present is taking advantage of pacifiers that brings us a temporarily and superficial sense of satisfaction and pleasure. Consequences are many times overlooked.

For years I lived in the “present” overlooking what it truly meant, I´m still learning and I battle instant gratification every day. Sometimes I win, others… I lose.

Stop for a minute and think of all the decisions that you made the last week. From small things like deciding to buy a new shirt and eating that cheese cake to maybe bigger ones like deciding to get married or taking a job. How many of those were done thinking of an instant moment of satisfaction? And what can be the long-term consequences of those actions?

Why is instant gratification powerful? Because it can take control of our lives if we don´t put a stop to it. The most successful people in the world know this and they don´t let it take control. They aim at their goal and battle the urge to surrender under instant gratification.

Is your life being controlled by instant gratification? Below I have listed just a few aspects of everyday life that you might have lost control of.

What is the long-term result of an addiction?

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Smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer or a few and compulsive gambling among others.

What do they all have in common? They bring an instant moment of pleasure, we become addicted to that moment of satisfaction and wish to prolong it as long as we can. So we smoke more, drink more, gamble more.

It becomes an addiction when we lose control over it and become dependent over the substance or activity that brings us pleasure but harm at the same time. Anything done in a compulsive way and seeking pleasure from it can´t be good for you – even exercising or eating fruits.

If eating healthy and exercising can make you get a fit body, whats keeping you from it?

What is the root of the problem of overweight and obesity? Eating fatty, sugary food and not exercising. If we know this, how come there are so many overweight people in the world?

Because ice-cream, chips and chocolate tastes good and exercising involves work. It involves getting of the couch, putting sport shoes on and hitting the gym or yoga class.

What is keeping you from getting a healthy weight and a six-pack? That is of course if you don´t have a physical impediment.

Instant gratification. Eating that chocolate cake one too many times, not exercising enough, surrendering to your negative mind and overlooking the long-term goal.

Why don´t we have our dream job?

I had a job interview recently for a job I hated. Why did I apply? I was desperate.

For instant gratification I would have said yes, it meant a salary (even if it was lower than average) it also meant getting my annoying uncles and cousins of my back, telling me to take any job.

But there was nowhere to climb to, that job would have been my job forever, there was no senior position, manager, or anything. It was a dead-end job and I would have to drive two hours everyday to get there and back.

I told the woman I wasn’t interested and politely walked outside. I then had to deal with my annoying family’s comments about how I was being too stubborn and inflexible and how any job is a job.

Well… I have bigger goals and they require having to put up with annoying comments. So I sucked it up and listened while inside I wanted to strangle them, but I didn’t succumb under instant gratification and let them live for another day.

What happened to love?

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I think this is one of the most painful ones of all. Love has been considerably neglected by preferring instant gratification.

A quick fuck can substitute the physical urge of lust, but our hearts are being starved of love.

Partners are many time chosen by physical or economical attributes instead of emotional and spiritual similarities. Physical and economic factors can bring in an instant form of gratification.

Is pleasurable to have a good-looking partner, especially during sex. Money buys us the purse we don´t need but that we enjoy purchasing in the moment, we get a lavish wedding; we wear a beautiful dress and enjoy an extravagant honeymoon to exotic places.

However, as the years go by the superficial aspects that would once make us believe we were happy seize to make our hearts beat. Other more transcendental needs are many times not satisfied and divorce is inevitable.

What’s keeping you from achieving your goals?

I always love reading about people who achieve their goals. What I´ve noticed in all of them is that they never gave up; they never surrendered to anything else than what they had in their mind, a GOAL.

Have you ever put your mind into something and failed? I have, thousands of times. Some factors that make us fail are luck, bad timing or is simply out of our control. Others sum up to instant gratification.

What’s keeping you from becoming everything you want to be?

We can sit around; smoke cigarettes, with a drink of gin and maybe a slice of chocolate cake.

If we feel sad we can go out a buy a pretty dress that will make us superficially happy for a few minutes and maybe the first few times that we wear it.

Or we can take control of our lives, overlook the instant gratification that we get from   temporarily moment of  pleasure and look forward to the bigger goal. Make a small sacrifice to achieve what we truly want. 

We can whether choose pleasure or happiness.

Is your life pleasurable or happy? which one do you want?

After realizing this I´ve decided to get of the couch, close my laptop screen and go to yoga class.

Rome wasn’t built in one day, so here´s battling instant gratification.

Photo credit: pixabay.com

2 comments

  • So true that instant gratification often comes between where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow. I think it’s a balancing act to both plan for the future and appreciate the moment. I’m a planner so i have to strive in the other direction… learning to live in the now and not in the future. I never really considered there could be a downside to living in the present…. thanks for this perspective! Balance in all things! 🙂

    • Yeah!! you´re completely right, is about balance! I guess I battle in living to much in the present and obliging the consequences of my acts. but I´m working on it 😉 thank you for your reply Shelah.

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