Is wanting everything instantly beneficial to you? Chances are if you said yes, you are setting yourself for failure. The world bombards you with messages that promote instant desires regularly. For instance, you’ll see a before and after photo of someone who lost weight or “the rags to riches” story. People focus so much on the finished product that they forget the journey that led up to that point. For those who are not familiar with the terms, I’ll go into detail.
Instant gratification is wanting a successful outcome as quickly as possible. For example (and I’m sure we’re all guilty of this):
- scrolling through social media to see the likes on posts
- getting junk food when you know you’ll regret it later.
These activities are desirable because dopamine is released, which gives you a temporary burst of happiness. When the “high” wears off, you go back to feeling normal again. To maintain this feeling, you keep repeating the cycle. You may not think it’s detrimental to indulge but think about those resolutions you made; what’s the progress? It’s just keeping you in the short term mindset with no form of security to prepare for later months.
Delayed gratification, on the other hand, is putting in the effort now so you can obtain a successful outcome in the future. Examples are:
- completing a course or degree
- noticing progress after maintaining a workout regiment
It requires effort and sacrifice to attain your goals. It may be hard at times when you experience “failure” but not giving up forces your mind to adapt to counteract the diversions.
A well-known study of instant vs delayed gratification is the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. The study was conducted in 1972 by psychologist Walter Mischel. Children were given a marshmallow (or preferred treat) and told they could eat the marshmallow now (instant gratification) or wait fifteen minutes to get another marshmallow (delayed gratification). Follow up studies showed that the children who practised delayed gratification obtained better life outcomes than those who opted to eat the marshmallow.
So I ask the question again; Is wanting everything instantly beneficial to you? Take some time to think about the long term effects before indulging in that guilty pleasure.
Nomadic Free Spirit