Instant gratification – a word often used to describe our generation, the Millennials (what up 80’ & 90’s babies). But what does that even mean? According to the urban dictionary, instant gratification is the: ‘immediate satisfaction, the quick attainability of happiness or of contentment’.
In other words, it’s wanting something now rather than later. Does that sound familiar? This doesn’t only remind me of the cupcake I had last night, even though I said I wouldn’t have sweets for a week. But it also reminds me of the many times I don’t feel like waiting for God’s perfect timing because I don’t have the patience.
Related post: 10 Bible Verses on Patience
So how come, researchers, philosophers and parents of this day all agree that it is a characteristic that describes us Millennials so well?
I remember the first time I heard about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs stories from rags to riches. Both their lives were characterized by intense work and perseverance to build their products/brands, which eventually changed the world.
Even though they might have been from a privileged background that allowed them to devote most of their time to their vision, there was no doubt that they had worked their behinds off to get to where they are now. And we respected it and understood that success takes a lot of effort!
I believe nothing changed! However, through globalization and digitalization, our generation has become witness to many success stories that didn’t include the creation of an actual product. But are more so build around a personal brand.
The fact that a viral video has the power to amass thousands of likes, followers, and dollars intrigue our young minds. We think that if he/she can do it, we can do it too. And that all we need to do for it, is stunt on the gram. Thus, we slowly started modifying the formula. Suddenly, success isn’t a result of hard work + determination anymore. But rather a result of an outcry for attention, with a short-lived outcome. Real achievements, however, like a degree, a thriving career or becoming a homeowner don’t happen overnight. They take time to develop and achieve.
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As a millennial, it’s critical to understand that becoming successful in any aspect of life requires persistence and dedication. I had to learn to navigate through life with more patience and discipline myself. Here are some helpful tips on
How to avoid the temptation of instant gratification
One of my biggest struggles in life is cooking. I don’t like coming up with a meal, I don’t like shopping for a meal and I certainly don’t like preparing a meal. I like eating! Preferably without having to wait for it. That’s why every time I have plans after work you will find me snacking on some sort of fast food (see the donut above).
Spontaneous decisions like these can be fun and harmless until they become a habit. A lot of us tend to act on impulse when we must make quick decisions and blame it on our feelings. ‘I just felt like it’. ‘I don’t want to wait for it’. I will deal with the consequences later’.
However, we have to learn to control our feelings and not let them control us. We shouldn’t satisfy our current desires at the expense of our future needs. But instead, make thought through decisions by identifying better alternatives and understanding the root of our desire.
Ever thought about why we are so desperate for a quick breakthrough in a particular area of our lives? Job? Love? Health? Could it be that we are broke? Feel lonely? Or consider ourselves unattractive? No matter what it is, oftentimes our desire to succeed so badly is linked to discontentment in our current situation. Which consequently leads to emotional distress and a need for instant gratification.
In order to avoid rash decisions, we need to focus on building a stable environment. A lifestyle that fosters organic growth and hard work. To endure lives ups and downs and resist short-term (lived) satisfaction we need to build a solid foundation on Christ. When we fill our lives with the holy spirit, we produce lasting joy that cures discontentment, monotony, and depression.
Related post: Be more content: 7 ways to rejoice in your current season
Envision the future
Okay, this might sound crazy, but there is a life after 30! And the choices we make now will affect that life. I know that the future seems vague at times. After all who knows what tomorrow brings. But that is no excuse to lose sight of our hopes and dreams. We have to trust God.
Related Post: 10 Bible Verses about Trusting God
We must make it a daily task to imagine the future with the desired outcome. And need to start visualizing the concrete rewards based on the continued effort we invest now. To do so we can use a vision board, write down our goals or simply pray for discipline.
By establishing a future-focused tendency, we agree that the good things in life take time and adopt a different approach to goal setting. Suddenly the temptation of instant gratification becomes less attractive and we start enjoying the journey.
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:8
Love & Light