A lot has been written and said about ‘Instant Gratification’ and the famed marshmallow test (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ). A number of studies have gone ahead to prove why and how ‘instant gratification‘ affects/ impacts our focus and in turn our performance and productivity. This one habit is life changing.
Instant gratification is a habit where you forgo short-term pain, and instead, indulge in fleeting pleasures that ultimately result in long-term pain. In other words, you find reasons/ excuses/ crutches not to do something because of the pain it creates at the moment (now) even though you know that this action is necessary to help you attain your long-term goals and objectives. It manifests in procrastination and is a form of self-sabotage; you get caught up indulging in the temptations of life at the cost of your long-term goals. And this is precisely why instant gratification rarely gets us what we want in the long-run.
Think of your whatsapp ‘ping’ that comes while you’d finally decided to open your course-book (the exams looming large around the corner). Resisting the ping and continuing studies is the short-term pain. To succumb and look at the screen, answer, smile, and forward (besides the 10 mins and loss of concentration) leads to losing focus.
Getting caught up in the instant gratification trap can make you very susceptible, and often leads to addictions, jealousy, anger, stress, anxiety and impulsive behavior. It is a direct reflection of your lack of self-discipline and highlights that you are unable to control your emotional urges. This subsequently has significant consequences on your life resulting in narrow minded thinking, poor decision making and planning habits.
What it Means to Delay Gratification
Delayed gratification is a habit where you forgo short-term pleasure/ comfort in order to gain significant long-term pleasure and future rewards. In other words, you ward off short-term temptations that might distract you from your long-term goals and instead focus on what you need to do to achieve your desired long-term outcomes. It helps focus and thus achieving your goals.
Get into the habit of delaying gratification as it gives you more control over your life, decisions, and actions. It is basically your control over your mind. Either your brain works for you (listening to your orders/ command) or you are the slave. You give it orders OR HE gives you orders. Furthermore, it helps you value and appreciate hard work and effort. Yes, things are tough right now, but the pain you experience is a necessary part of the process to help you achieve your long-term goals.
The act of delaying gratification helps to strengthen your mind and shape your character. It builds self control and willpower, reinforces self discipline, and teaches you about the patience. It’s the one habit that determines how successful you will become and how much you will ultimately achieve in your life.
“Arjun what do you see?” asks Dronacharya. “I can only see the eye of the bird”. While others failed to separate their goal from distractions in their path, Arjuna was able to ignore every distraction and he eyes only the prize. In life, there are so many irrelevant things that consume our energy on a day-to-day basis. Those who can put aside the chaos and concentrate/ focus on goals succeed in life.
In the next post get to know how to handle ‘instant gratification’. Interested? Await the post.