The Instant Gratification Trap

My 13 year old daughter and her friends are totally into instant gratification. They are the sound byte generation.

We live in an instant gratification society. I admit to wanting things instantly because I feel I don’t have time to wait. I’m working on becoming more patient, I swear. Where did this come from? I grew up with snail mail, without fax machines and e-mail and without computers. As technology speeds forward, just about everything becomes instantly available. We begin to expect it and then feel annoyed when we have to wait.

The problem occurs if this way of thinking spills over into our business.  Being an instant gratification junky doesn’t serve you well if you expect an instant response to your marketing, instant results from what you learn from courses and books, instant response to your e-mails, newsletters, and offers. Instant success. You know those offers that promise to make you an instant fortune on the Internet in days if you use their system? They’re just playing a psychological game that feeds into our natural desire for instant gratification.

It’s easy to start a project or a business and feel excited, enthusiastic and motivated. It’s hard to accept delayed gratification, to stick in there until you reach the finish line even when you don’t see dramatic results right away. The most successful people I know spent several years seeing small, unimpressive results before they really took off. They don’t often tell you that but it’s true. This has been my experience with every business I’ve owned in the last 20 years. There were times when I wanted to quit, times when I thought I must be doing something wrong. But I stuck with it, made re-adjustments when necessary, studied and learned from mentors who were already succeeding, and it paid off every time.

So don’t fall into the trap. Buy into the dream instead. Persist.

  • Jeanne May
    Posted at 21:45h, 10 July Reply

    Hi Janis…

    I’m also an instant gratification junkie (I love that term by the way)… to the point where I want to achieve or see differences preferably 10 minutes ago!

    Like you, I’ve had to work hard on toning down my instant gratification tendencies — I have never lost sight of my dream, of my goals… thank heavens. Now this part of me drives me to improve and produce in a much more focused and deliberate way.


  • Jeff
    Posted at 21:07h, 10 August Reply

    Great article, and definitely is very true in our socieity. We thrive on instant gratification and when things don’t happen instantly we tend to give up, or lose encouragement.

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