Instant Gratification Doesn't Create Lasting Happiness

by Michael Corthell

In western societies particularly, there is a major hindrance in acquiring a positive mindset; it is the greed and gluttony of instant gratification.

The brain has the ability to change its programming by 'rewiring' itself. This 'rewiring' of course, can be either positive or negative and since the post World War Two 'baby boom' generation we as a global culture have done just that, we have rewired our collective minds to ''want it all and want it right now!''

Many people today grow up without a true sense of how yesterday affects today are unlikely to have a very real sense of how today affects tomorrow.

We live in a society that advertises instant everything, giving our brains instant emotional gratification, which works just like the natural feel good chemicals our brain produces. The more immediate gratification we offer our brains, the more we crave it.

We have created a consumer addiction, which in turn has sparked renewed interest in Thoreau's philosophy of
minimalism as a cure.

Many people are tethered to their smart phones so they can stay connected to the Internet, especially Facebook and other social media. You maybe reading this article on your smart phone or IPad. There are 12 Step styled self-help groups to overcome social media addiction and 'instant gratificationism'.

What is the exact definition of instant gratification? It is a habit of eliminating short-term pain that will eventually lead to long-term satisfied pleasure and instead seeking and indulging in short-term pleasure that may very well lead to long-term pain. In other words, you find reasons and excuses not to do something because of the pain it creates in the present moment even though you know that you should do it to help you attain your objectives and long-term goals.

Those among us who have been swept up by instant gratification trap will often expect to get something from nothing. Unfortunately for them, the world just doesn't work that way. You need to give in order to get back, that is the
Law of Compensation.

Addiction to being satisfied instantly will very likely make you very susceptible to other addictions, as well as the negative emotions of jealousy, anger and impulsive behaviors. This in turn will lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety and overwhelm you in the long-term.

What can you do about this addiction?

Once you recognize that this is a problem, and that it has the potential to, at the very least, limit your happiness, and at the most ruin your life, as well as the lives of others, you must choose whether or not to do something about it.

How, by developing the habit of 'delayed gratification'. Delayed gratification is rejecting short-term pleasure in order to get pleasure, satisfaction and rewards in the future. This action may require you to suffer some short-term pain, but that pain is only temporary. With a positive mindset you will understand that this short-term pain is necessary to help you reach your ultimate destination, which is success and happiness. Getting into this habit will give you a greater sense of control over your life, thereby making better decisions, and taking more positive actions. In short, the habit of 'delayed gratification' builds good work ethic.

We never get something for nothing, except for love. To be a success and live a life of fulfillment you will need to go through short-term pain and frankly be uncomfortable, that is called 'paying your dues'. You will also have to make serious sacrifices and struggle to get where you want to be. Be accepting of that fact and your instant gratification addiction is in a very real sense cured.

Sources for FMI


The danger of instant gratification | Jesse Weinberger

Jesse Weinberger calls us to recognize the dangers of technology in the lives of our children. Jesse Weinberger is a nationally recognized Internet Safety expert, speaker, and author. Since 2003, Jesse has been presenting to parents, students, teachers, and school districts all over the United States. As a respected expert and leader in this field, she is frequently sought out by media, educators, administrators, and law enforcement for guidance on how to manage and improve the digital lives of children – from pre-school to college. Jesse is the author of The Boogeyman Exists: And He’s In Your Child’s Back Pocket.