The Empty Promise of Instant Gratification

Our instantaneous world may be our biggest hindrance

Artwork by Taylor Daniels

Artwork by Taylor Daniels

We live in a world where our needs can be met in an instant: same day delivery, Netflix, instant messaging, Uber, food delivery apps and Google are just a few examples. Although these are incredibly useful, our generation’s reliance on speed and getting what we want will be our greatest downfall as we can receive almost anything without leaving our own houses. The main issue is that we have learned how to be incredibly in tune with our culture and with other people while simultaneously isolating ourselves, creating the ultimate paradox of our generation.

The many means of instant gratification that fill our lives have affected the way we think and behave, instilling in us thoughts that are constantly multitasking. How often do you look at your phone while you’re sitting right next to another person? How often do you decide not to leave the house because you can have whatever you wish brought to you without human interaction? How often do you watch TV, work on your computer, and try to talk to the person you’re with all simultaneously? I think the answer for most people, myself included, is very often. But this habit of isolation amidst reality is not healthy for us.

Our biggest hindrance on ourselves is excluding others for the sake of all the attainable things we can get right when we want it. Focusing on one thing at a time may seem inefficient, but could be incredibly rewarding. Living life in the moment, taking the time to reach out to other people without distraction, and taking the longer path to get what we want seems to be the best way to create a generation more in touch with their surroundings.
Think of the innovative virtual reality goggles that hit the mainstream market this year. They are used to instantly jump into a different reality without much work or concentration on one’s surroundings, but we cannot narrowly visualize our lives in this way with the false pretense that the things we want will happen in a single moment with disregard to the rest of the world. We must take the blinding goggles of instantaneity off and get a wider perspective. We must live slower and more thoughtfully if we truly wish to succeed.