A 3-seconds wait for the browser to surface your favourite site feels like eternity.
Read time: 2 min.
INSTANT is the word in today’s hyper-connected world. Right from the time you wake up till you roll back in bed again, everything comes to us at super speed. We have come to expect things instantly or near instantly, whether it’s communication, food, or entertainment. This super-instant economy has made our lives very comfortable but has also created a sense of entitlement to expect instant gratification for some.
You pay the price for everything.
The costs of delayed manifestation are in the present. We hit the gym, but the results are seen over time. We show up at work today, but the return – a paycheck – doesn’t come until a week or a couple of weeks later. The costs of your immediate manifestation are in the future. The consequences of instant gratification are delayed while the rewards are immediate.
The instant manifestation of things that harms us is less painful at the moment. Smokers, for instance, are well aware of the health impact but because the signs are not evident immediately, it does not deter them from continuing. The effect of unhealthy meals does not show up instantly either, so we don’t feel guilty ravishing tasty fatty foods. Instant manifestation may prevent differentiating the consequences of delayed cost as those are not immediately visible to us, blurring our thinking to continue the unfortunate habits whereas delayed rewards may sap the motivation to keep good habits like exercise or sticking to a healthy diet.
Besides health, there are also other effects of instant gratification. Writing letters seems antiquated now but was preferred over long distance calling not so long ago for an economic reason. Today instant messaging and chatting is undoubtedly a boon. These virtues, however, could quickly become a vice when we feel entitled to instant gratification.
Today we are capable of communicating with many people quickly, but find it difficult connecting with people. We may have many followers on social sites, but not many loyal friends. We have access to oceans of information all around us instantly, but little attention to absorb them. So much knowledge available at fingertips but very little wisdom. Plenty of amenities for saving time, but we still find it hard to relax peacefully.
I am very technical and pro-innovation. However, I consciously avoid submitting myself to the latest and the greatest technology magic without evaluating some of the longer term consequences. I also encourage my kids to do the same. If I were to use the analogy of evolution by Darwin, then the mammals who stuck to being in water mostly developed features more adept to sea and could not survive on land. I cannot predict what the future of humanity holds, but for now, I would love to swim but don’t want to end up like a fish.
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Success to you!