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When can you have almost anything immediately, are there benefits to not?
We live in an age of instant gratification. From fast food to Ubereats to Amazon Prime, same-day delivery and let’s not forget about Instagram, it’s easy to get what we want when we want it. But is that really a good thing? On the one hand, instant gratification can be a great way to soothe stress, find comfort and reward yourself. On the other, if relied upon too regularly, it can become an unhealthy habit that makes us lazy and prevents us from achieving our long-term goals.
That’s why understanding the difference between instant gratification and delayed gratification is so important.
Instant gratification is when you receive rewards immediately, while delayed gratification is when you delay rewards until you reach a certain goal or milestone.
While instant gratification can be convenient – and even extremely helpful at times – it can quickly become an overly tempting and dangerous trap. It often leads to short-term temporary gains but long-term losses. This can become especially evident when it comes to our desires for unhealthy food, fast money, or quick decisions without considering the consequences.
Unfortunately for us, modern society is constantly tempting (and taunting) us with outlets for instant gratification at almost every turn. We’re routinely presented with options that promise immediate rewards and pleasure, and as a result, we get used to it. But giving in to this temptation too often can lead us down a path of long-term suffering and regret. When it comes to our health, neglecting our physical and emotional needs can have serious consequences over time. The momentary pleasure we get from indulging in junk food or skipping the gym will quickly fade away and will result in weight gain, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, fatigue, depression and other more serious health issues down the line.
The same goes for financial choices. Being lured into bad investments or taking on massive amounts of debt may seem like a great solution in the present moment but will end up costing dearly in the future as interest rates mount up and debt piles up.
Perhaps most importantly, when it comes to our decision making process we must make sure we are aware of how short-term gain might impact our long-term goals and plans. Taking a job simply because it pays well now could mean sacrificing better opportunities further down the road; giving in to pressure from friends or family could jeopardize important relationships; compromising on core values may feel good at first but you may later regret it as those choices start to define your identity over time.
That’s not to say you should never pursue any type of gratification – that would defeat its purpose – but rather that you must find ways of resisting temptation that allow you to make smarter decisions based on sustainable success instead of instant pleasure alone. Impulse control and discipline are important and essential qualities, if you want to be healthy and successful. It’s not realistic to assume that you can get everything you want. It’s even more unrealistic to think that you can get it all immediately. So, always remember: great things take time and you are capable of great things!
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Any health-related information published here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.