I want it and I want it now. That’s basically how our society is growing up. What happened to working for things and waiting for the Heinz ketchup to slowly ooooze from the bottle and smother onto your French fries? As a consumer nation, we are conditioned for instant gratification and that unrealistic mindset carries over to other areas of our life. Just because we can get the latest iPhone today doesn’t mean we can build a business this second or become a better tennis player right now. Buying something is much different than working for something.
Our society is fast becoming the land of “Instant Gratification,” where five minutes is too long. We need to get in touch with people this second. Every company is trying to figure out: how can we do something faster? It’s great when my computer is fast, I like that, but an instant gratification mindset shifts our focus away from effort and resilience to right now (and I’m not talking about being in the present moment). I have yet to meet someone who built a business or lost weight overnight. There’s something empowering when you invest the time, overcome challenges and reach an outcome that makes you feel good. We grow in that process and increase our belief in ourself.
Here are a few “instant gratification” expectation examples:
– Start a new job and get promoted right away.
– Become an entrepreneur and sell the company for a profit in less than a year.
– Master a new skill such as tennis or golf in one summer – good luck! (I’ve played for 40 years and competed in college and on the professional tour and I’m still learning).
– Exercise and see massive results in a week.
– Start a Facebook /Twitter page or new blog and a have a huge following in a month.
– Decide to eat “healthy” for a few days and see the number on the scale be lower by five pounds (or else we think might as well eat the cookies if it makes no difference).
I completely understand that it can be discouraging when you write consistently for a month and you only have three pages written for your first book, workout like a crazy person for a week and don’t see any change on the scale or visit twenty clients and only make one sale. If Thomas Edison had quit after 9,999 attempts we might not have electricity. I’m just saying it takes time and there is no specific answer for exactly how much time it takes. When you are focused on progress and getting better rather than instant gratification or reaching perfection it’s easier to stay the course.
Is it too late to teach people to work for something?
You don’t learn to walk overnight…
You don’t learn to read overnight…
You don’t learn to spell overnight…
You don’t learn to ride a bike overnight…
….but we expect to build a business or become a master quickly!
If we gave up after one week of trying to walk or spell, the results would not be encouraging. Our natural state is to want to improve and get better. Society and the media often shift our perspective regarding the time frame and effort it takes for a meaningful accomplishment.
So just for the record:
– It takes time to get to know someone and build a beautiful relationship
– It takes time to lose weight and keep it off (ie, months and years)
– It takes time to build a business
– It takes time to write a book (took me about 12 months)
– It takes time to become a master and gain experience in any area of your life
When you understand that any process takes time, you’re not discouraged and tempted to quit at the first glimpse of a challenge. An instant gratification mindset, or the mentality that success is an overnight process and putting in time and effort is not an essential part of the process, is prominent in our society. Our work is to re-shift our mindset to have a more realistic perspective.
How can you shift your perspective to pursue what’s most important to you and stay with it?
Believe in yourself,
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in Your Top 1%. She coaches teams and entrepreneurs, executives, managers, aspiring leaders, athletes, career changers, and moms getting back in the workforce. Alissa works one-on-one with clients and gives corporate workshops throughout the year. To learn more and connect with Alissa, please visit her website and Facebook page.