Instant gratification is one of the most crippling self delusion that one can have the misfortune of falling into. It is something that is so hard to realize about yourself because of the ways that it manifest itself. In my own personal experience it is something that can be blamed on the exterior wold instead of realizing you want something that you have not earned yet. How many times have you tried to start a new hobby or learn a new language, and gave up after three weeks, if you managed to make it that long? How many times have you pictured something you could make, but never followed through because it was just taking too long? This feeling comes from your brain being accustomed to instant gratification. It is such a big problem and it is only becoming bigger that it can potentially cripple future generations. In the age of technology we are used to getting everything at the click of a button. Food, clothes, entertainment, you name it.
In this post I will tell you what has been working for me, and give you examples of how I too have fallen to this. If you read my first post you are already half way to understanding where I’m going with this. If not, take a second to read it and see if you can relate. Have you ever met a person that starts a project and can’t shut up about it when they are first starting out? They can’t wait to tell you all about what they are planning and how big they are going to get. Yet months later they lost all interest and forgotten all about it, probably ranting about their new project. Well that person was me. I have always done this and it took me a long time to realize it. It is very hard accepting a downfall in yourself because it is painful and embarrassing. However, it is absolutely essential if you ever hope overcoming it. I made this realization when I noticed I was quitting more and more things and not accomplishing anything. I saw all the projects I had started and left half way completed. I didn’t think I was that person so needless to say it was hard seeing that.
I realize now it was necessary to go through that, because it lead me to taking action and changing it. So the first step is, though cliche, acceptance. Accept that you want things to come easy. Accept that you want to put minimal effort into things and expect grand results. Accept that this way of thinking is a fallacy, and that it is going to take a lot of time and effort to change this. Second step is to act. Reading all the self-help books, following all the best role models, or watching all the videos in the world won’t change anything until you take action. It wasn’t until I forced myself to see projects to completion that I began to change. It is important to note that this is a slow process, because at first you will begin to follow your old patterns. However DO NOT allow more than a week to pass without working on your project. We are humans and I get it we fail to stay motivated always, but you must agree to work on your project at least ten minutes on days you don’t “feel” like doing it. Any work is better than no work. Third step is holding yourself accountable. It has helped me when my girlfriend calls me out and holds me accountable, or when my family has mentioned that I’ve left a bunch of projects unfinished. You can ask your friends and family to hold you accountable too. Meaning if they see you slacking or starting to talk about a new project, they should call you out on it and remind you of your initial project. However this will only work if you are willing to accept the criticism, and you actually really want to change. Otherwise you will just agree with them and continue with your old patterns. At the end of the day, it’s your life and only you can make the decision to change.
The last step is the most important and the only way to get out of the instant gratification mindset, but it is also the hardest because it is all up to you. I found that it is hardest to make a decision when no one cares what you pick, and they leave it entirely up to you. The total and absolute freedom is scary, and our brain is wired to avoid scary things. I’m talking about commitment. Commitment is the only way that you will overcome this obstacle. You will be tempted to uses excuses like, “oh, well I realized quickly it’s just not for me” which is a valid statement, but not an option if you really want to change. That is why you must start small. Commit to small project and see them through to completion. DO NOT allow yourself to come up with a reason to quit, or just avoid it until you forget. Get that mindset out of your mind and tell yourself “No matter what I will see this through” If you want to run a mile without stopping you must commit to it, no matter what. You must go into it thinking “I will not stop even if my lungs collapse, I rather die than give up”. This mindset will get you to the end of that mile, and you will notice that you didn’t die, but instead you will feel more alive than ever. I’ll leave you with this: Commitment is an unavoidable part of life, no matter where you go, or what you do, you will always run into problems if you fail to commit. Someone wiser than me once told me “There are to types of people in this world, those who DO, and those who DON’T. Which one are you?”