Today I want to talk about a concept called instant gratification - that urgent need to have things now, get things done right away, or have a problem resolved immediately.
If we don't get it now, in this moment, then pain, irritation, and drama arise.
For many people, the pain can be intense. Extremely intense! Which is why there is a strong need for resolution.
I get why we have this dire impulse
Going back to hunter gatherer days - out in the wild - it was important to immediately satisfy a need.
When hunger strikes, it's crucial to get something in our stomach – right away. With danger, it's imperative to escape it – and fast. Otherwise, we die.
So, the mind evolved to create tremendous distress to encourage immediate response.
Although, we are not in those situations, for many, that distress is still pervasive
It's going on all the time, causing the need to go, go, go, do, do, do, have, have, have right this moment.
When we don't, the pain arises - that irritating feeling that something is not right and needs to be resolved...instantly!
Often, we are not actually seeking a particular want. What we're seeking is to release the pain the not having creates.
In fact, the attention of many people reading this post isn't on the content, but just on getting to the end.
The challenge of instant gratification is that it keeps us from focusing beyond the immediate want or concern
The mind’s attention is drawn in on the immediate priority.
When all attention is on an immediate priority, it’s difficult to think about anything else.
We are unable to focus on things that require looking few steps ahead.
The mind simply doesn't allow it!
This is where the I'll do it when I... language comes up. You know what I’m talking about, you’ll say I'll do it when I finish this, take care of that, when this is done, or that is resolved.
We continue the language, putting other priorities on hold and focusing only on the present.
An even more challenging aspect of instant gratification is that it doesn't end
As soon as we realize one priority, another priority immediately takes its place.
The mind is off to the next goal, endeavor, or concern, and the one after that, leaving little space or respite between each accomplishment.
It's like an addict. An addict is focused strictly on the next hit. That's all they can think about. Once they have that hit, it's off to the next one.
Just like an addict, we don't realize we are caught in this pattern. All we see is the the next want, and all we feel is the pain of not having it.
To release the pain, we must get that want.
The devious nature of instant gratification is that it convinces us that it'll just be that one thing, but it never is!
Like a napkin dispenser, as soon as you pull one out, another shows up.
It shows up with that irritating feeling that we can't be happy until the goal or concern is resolved.
The thing is, there is no resolve. New matters keep replacing old matters to continue creating the unsettling feeling.
Does your life feel like this?
Like a compulsive drive to fix this, get that, show off here, maintain that, and each time you do, something else takes its place?
If so, it’s an area that can definitely affect focus and concentration on what matters.
It’s time to learn to sit in the irritating feeling of not having something, not getting what you want, or not getting it as fast as you want it.
It can help slow you enough to focus on what’s important.