Not All Instant Gratification Is Bad

Instant gratification can and does prohibit us from achieving our long term goals. However, not all forms of it are bad, and here is why we also need it.


Tavian jean-pierre

2 years ago | 5 min read

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

There is a stigma in the self-improvement world about instant gratification. It appears that all bad things that occur in our life boil down to one thing, Instant Gratification.

This article is not here to disprove others on the dangers of instant gratification. I agree that over the past 20 years, we have seen an increase in the ability to access gratification.

We live in a world that is connected more than ever, and it is even getting better. Our connected world is helping us get rid of the limitations we had before. And due to the removal of barriers, we can easily get access to a short burst of happiness.

We do not even have to look far to get these little bursts. By keeping your notifications on, you can get little bursts of joy every time your phone buzzes. This instant access to happiness does delay our long-term satisfaction in the future.

However, I am sick and tired of not hearing people give two sides of the story. Instant gratification is not all bad. Many delayed gratification advocates need more positive instant gratification in their lives.

Like most things in life, a balance must be found between opposites for success. It is the same with instant and delayed gratification. So, here are three small things you can do to get a healthy dose of instant gratification in your life.

Just Be Present

For delayed gratification people, this must be a surprise. I can already hear them saying: What do you mean, be present? There are so many things to strive towards and so many goals to achieve. We have no time to be present.

We must always be thinking about the next move for our next achievement. Delayed gratification is perfect for achieving long-term goals. It stops you from taking your focus away from essential things and helps you see the bigger picture. However, it can also lead to anxiety and insecurity.

Our goals are vital for our satisfaction with life, but they are not all life is. After all, we will never know if we will ever get the time to achieve our goals because we are not promised tomorrow. We cannot take action tomorrow or yesterday; we can only do it today. So, all of our lives are lived in the ever-changing present.

Taking time to appreciate the present moment is a form of instant gratification. It gives us a boost in dopamine when we decide to appreciate all we have today. That may be our children, our spouse, or recently getting a new role.

Even just looking outside and feeling the awe and wonder of the reality of life is a great feeling. Take a deep breath to feel the fresh air run through your nose. Look at the sky and see the clouds passing by. Just being present for a moment is a form of instant gratification that is healthy.

It allows us to clear our minds and appreciate our only experience of life.

Take Full Advantage of Each Opportunity to Smile

Delayed gratification does not try to mask anything. Its definition is in its name. You apply it when you seek to delay your gratification for something better in the future. However, for things like smiling, embracing and sharing, we can not apply this law.

Spending time with a loved one or hearing some good news are things that should make us smile with joy. And we should live that experience of a smile with every bit of life we have.

When I was on the delayed gratification train, I would subtract from my present joy without me knowing. I would constantly be thinking about the goals I need to achieve next year. I would sometimes even cut moments of joy short to focus on the future gratification I had not yet received.

Once again, I am not advocating that we destroy delayed gratification. It serves a role in our pursuit of goals that can bring us immense happiness in the end. However, if it is getting in the way of your present joy, then destroy it.

We should be able to fully express our happiness without worries or thoughts of future stresses. For many of us, our moments of instant gratifying happiness are moments of guilt. We wish we had never watched that film or had eaten that chocolate cake. We are upset when we partake in instant gratification because we have been told it is all bad.

However, little doses of it are essential to reminding us that we are present beings. Short bursts of happiness allow us to embrace and cling to moments in the now.

Before, I used to half-smile and laugh at many things that were instantly gratifying. Things like watching a video that made me laugh or seeing a funny picture were not providing great happiness, but instead, smiles of guilt.

Well, I say no to that. Yes, procrastination is bad, and we should not let instant gratification get in the way of better things in our future. But we should never feel ashamed of a genuine moment of happiness. Instant gratification can help us take full advantage of the good moments in life.

Without holding anything back, we can fully feel the embrace, joy and laughter that a happy moment can bring. So, start taking full advantage of every moment you get to smile. By doing this, you can be instantly gratified through the short burst of happy moments in your life.

Practice Breathing

Finally, take a deep and slow breath in, then out again. Did you feel that? That was a moment of stress relief and peace. And guess what, you did not have to work ten years and delay a tonne of gratification to get it.

Whilst in the pursuit of our goals, we must remember to take a step back and breathe. Yes, we need the motivation from our endeavours, but we also need inspiration right now to keep going. Things like taking some time out every day to take deep breaths in and out can help a lot.

I have always found that breathing helps me remember that I am a living being at one with the universe. It allows me to look within and identify the points of stress in my life and release them through a big breath out.

Deliberately breathing allows us to instantly feel better whilst releasing stress.

Closing Thought

Instant gratification is not inherently bad. It is all about when we use it and the things we do to obtain it. I have suggested being present, taking full advantage of your smile and practising breathing.

Doing these three things more often can change your present life and make your days worth living. When delaying gratification, we often beat ourselves up for doing something gratifying in the present. However, instant gratification can give you a more enjoyable life when used correctly.


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Tavian jean-pierre

I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.







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