The human brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and one of the most enticing pleasures is that of instant gratification.
From fast food to online shopping, and instant knowledge about anything and everything in one quick search online, our modern world is designed to cater to our desire for immediate results.
However, as with most things in life, the pursuit of instant gratification comes with both benefits and drawbacks.
There’s a misconception that coaching always has to be a long term investment, but coaching can provide really quick results in a short amount of time, even a short chat, or an hours Focus session. Maybe a boost in motivation and confidence as you prepare for one specific event (eg giving a talk to a few thousand people), or a positive cognitive shift as you realise a long-held belief is no longer true.
Then there’s the long term magic of coaching – the benefits that just keep on coming week after week, month after month and beyond.
Some of the long-term results I’ve not only experienced myself, but witnessed in those I’ve coached are:
- sustained personal and professional growth
- a positive impact on overall well-being
- feeling in control
- greater resilience to deal with life’s knocks
- a better outlook on life
- a willingness to take risks and acceptance when things don’t go as you wanted
- improved self-awareness
- enhanced personal and professional skills
- increased confidence
- better decision-making abilities
- sustained growth and development
- healthier relationships
- clear vision for your future drawing on core values
- achieving greater overall satisfaction and fulfillment in life
On the one hand, instant gratification can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that motivates you to continue pursuing your goals. For example, completing a task and receiving immediate praise or recognition can be highly rewarding and reinforce the behaviour. We all need a pat on the back to know we’re on the right track.
Since leaving London my pace of life has slowed, and this is for the better. I know technology brings ease and convenience and has made it possible to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently, which can save time and increase productivity. I love being organised and efficient…in fact I have to work against this natural trait to switch off sometimes. Technology can be your friend, but it can also be your enemy if you are constantly switched on, unable to fully be ‘off‘.
The allure of instant gratification can also have detrimental effects on our well-being. One of the most significant drawbacks is that it can lead to a lack of patience and perseverance. When you become accustomed to receiving immediate rewards, you may become less willing to put in the time and effort required to achieve long-term goals. This can be especially problematic when it comes to areas such as education, career development, and personal growth, which often require sustained effort over an extended period.
I’ve learned over the years that to get lasting results usually involves consistent, persistent effort. I’m not saying you need to be down on our knees scrubbing the floors constantly, but you need to ensure the floor is swept, mopped and tidied on a regular basis or it will just become a dumping ground for all things. Imagine that’s your brain…you need to cognitively keep working on your mind to keep it healthy.
Another downside to seeking instant gratification is that it can lead to impulsive behavior and poor decision-making. For example, buying something on impulse rather than saving up for it or choosing a quick fix for a problem rather than addressing the root cause. This can result in financial difficulties, health problems, and other negative consequences – all of which negatively impact on your mental health.
When you prioritize short-term pleasure over long-term fulfillment, you may find yourself feeling empty and unsatisfied. This can lead to a cycle of constantly seeking out new sources of instant gratification without ever truly feeling fulfilled.
So, what can you do to balance the benefits and drawbacks of instant gratification?
The key is to recognize that there is a time and place for both immediate results and delayed gratification. In some situations, such as emergency situations, immediate results may be necessary and even life-saving. In other situations, such as career development or personal growth, delayed gratification may be more beneficial in the long run.
It can be helpful to cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness to better understand your motivations and impulses. I’d also add that slowing down and pausing between desire and decision making can really help you see what you truly want. By taking the time to reflect on your desires and goals, you can develop a better understanding of what truly brings you satisfaction and fulfilment. This can help you make more deliberate choices and avoid impulsivity.
Finally, it is important to recognize that the pursuit of instant gratification is not inherently good or bad. It is simply a part of human nature that we all must learn to navigate in a way that serves our well-being and helps us achieve our goals. By being mindful and intentional in our choices, we can strike a balance between the allure and pitfalls of instant gratification.
Can you recognize any areas of your life where you might have taken the easy quick choice, then later regretted it?
💭 Take some time to think this through
💭 Make a list of any regrets you are hanging on to from quick decisions made in the past
💭 Don’t be critical of your decisions
💭 Remember this is a natural human trait.
💭 What I’d like you to do next is to add what lesson you can learn from each point.
Failure and not achieving what you set out to is the way you learn, and importantly build resilience. Failure is the permission ticket to try again, because you know life won’t implode if Plan A didn’t work as expected.
Life is about learning, not just accepting failure; using it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. By approaching setbacks with a growth mindset, you can learn from your mistakes, adapt to new situations, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfilment.
I’d love to hear about the lessons you have uncovered from exploring your past decisions. Please add a comment below to share your thoughts.
Adopting better habits and thought patterns can help us accomplish far more than we feel is possible. Coaching conversations are an opportunity to learn about yourself and your experiences. You have the space and time to explore what keeps you stuck, unfulfilled and not living aligned to your values. If this sounds like something you’d like to look into take a look at the Services I offer or get in touch to arrange an initial free and informal chat.