To say we live in a fast-paced world is an understatement. With so many technological advances and everything at our fingertips, instant gratification is an everyday occurrence in many of our lives. Want something to eat? Just hit a few buttons on your cell phone. Looking for a date? Just open up one of dozens of dating apps. Gone are the days where we had to make considerable effort to do things. Life, relative to even 20 years ago, has become detrimentally convenient.
As a result, we have become a bit spoiled in thinking we should have everything now, now, now. This is especially prevalent in younger generations who grew up knowing nothing else, but it’s certainly not limited to the 30 and under crowd. While I fall into the category of a “millennial,” I’m still an ’80s baby and we were the last generation of “millennials” that didn’t grow up on social media or cell phones. We still had to write our essays out by hand and use pay phones. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego was the jam and was the only computer use I can recall leading up to high school.
I didn’t even have a cell phone until I was 18 and it was one of those clunky Nokia phones that you can only call and text on. And you know what -thank goodness! I’m so grateful to have grown up in an era that required more effort and I think it has served me as an adult.
Now, I don’t want to sound like one of those olds who complains that technology has ruined “kids these days.” It’s not even a millennial problem; it’s an everyone problem. It’s a hedonic treadmill problem. (If you’re not a philosophy buff, the “hedonic treadmill” is a theory that no matter how much we get in life we will always want more yet return to about the same level of happiness, inciting a viscous cycle of perpetual dissatisfaction.)
Delaying gratification is a vital aspect to success and stepping off the hedonic treadmill. The fact is, anything worth doing takes extensive effort. The more you are able to be patient and delay gratification, the better your results will be. Because delaying gratification takes discipline, and discipline is something you must have to be your best.
Whether that’s emotional discipline in relationships or discipline to get work done, it’s much better to sit back, think, and observe than it is to throw things at a wall frivolously and expect grand results. Stop. Think. Listen. Shut up. These are all very important things that have fallen to the wayside in the digital age. Patience. Silence. Fortitude. We’re all so busy talking, trying to prove how great we are that we’re not taking time to do the actual work. Then when we don’t get the results we want quickly, we move on to the next thing.
That’s not how success works in any aspect of life. Great businesses aren’t built by people who got frustrated and gave up after a few setbacks. 35 year marriages aren’t made by people who got bored and looked for greener pastures. If you want a fulfilling AND successful life, you’re going to have to work really, really hard and not expect instant results. Quit looking for quick hits, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to get messy.
No one said it was going to be easy, only that it would be worth it.