The Curse of Instant Gratification & How to Overcome it

Image by Designcologist

Image by Designcologist

By Evamarie Joubert

Instant gratification is something that is largely attributed to the explosion of technology and how it’s affected the way we interact and communicate as a society in this new age of connectivity. However, it’s stigma is planted directly at the feet of millennials and our supposed impatience and entitlement; a direct cause of being able to have whatever we want in an instant.   

I used to believe that I was completely exempt from the influence of technology and the expectation of instant gratification it created. I saw the TED talks about how social media was eroding our generation’s ability to be patient and how the constant bombardment of everyone’s highlight reel was causing us to forget just how much hard work occurs behind the scenes. However, I was a special snowflake. I completely understood that success didn’t come easily and even further understood the importance of waiting. It was those other less mature and dumb millennials who were impatient enough to believe that they deserved a corner office with two years experience or could achieve millionaire status by 23. 

What I didn’t realize was that despite my “understanding,” I was fulfilling another stereotype typical of the young; I thought I knew it all when I really had no clue. 

Heavily influenced by the many podcasts, Instagram gurus, and business masterminds that encourage you to quit your 9-5, travel the world, and create financial freedom; I decided to take my own leap. I spent a year saving my money, got certified as a professional life & business coach, then finally quit my job, packed my bags and moved to Rome, Italy! 

I was filled with so much confidence. I fully expected to start raking in clients, and make a ton of money, while spending less than half of my savings. What I didn’t realize was the insidious desire for instant gratification buried deep within me. From what I’d seen represented on the outside, my goals looked like the rule and NOT the exception and I was met with my very own rude awakening. 

Fast forward a year and my business tanked. I had depleted all my savings, was even deeper in debt from paying other coaches to help me with my business to no avail. Essentially, I was the definition of a failure. 

As a perfectionist, my pride took a nosedive and I contemplated dropping everything and running tail back home to my parents. It was humiliating and extremely painful but I learned a lot of hard lessons, lessons I am now going to share with you. 

YOU CANNOT EXPECT SUCCESS ON AN EXPEDITED TIMELINE 

I will not discount that some people are able to create wealth and extreme success for themselves at a young age. It happens and I’d be disingenuous to say otherwise. However, this is always the EXCEPTION and not the rule. Not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg and you have to be ok with that. 

So here’s what you can expect to happen. You will fail on your first try or at the very least you will make some big mistakes. 

Be malleable! People who are success driven and especially those who want to become entrepreneurs are extraordinarily stubborn. In a lot of ways, it’s necessary because that’s how most eventually find success in the end, but know when to use it. Understand that you may realize your original plan isn’t working or that what you thought you wanted no longer interests you, which may delay your timeline. 

If you’re taking action, learning, and correcting your mistakes it is inevitable that the success you want will come. You just need to be patient and realize that it most likely won’t happen NOW. 

SOMETIMES YOU’LL NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD. 

This one is usually the toughest pill to swallow. 

When your goal is to build a life that is extraordinary, it often means that you’re bucking a lot of traditional beliefs and ideas about how you should live and where you should be in your life. 

Which means that you most likely won’t appear to have it as together as you would like. In my case, it meant leaving a secure 9-5 job and my own studio apartment in NYC to living with roommates and working low paying jobs like selling tours on the street and teaching English. 

For you, it may mean moving back home with your parents, forgoing nights out with friends so you can work the weekends, or taking a lower paying part-time job that gives you time to work on your goals on the side. Whatever it is, it will usually mean accepting a season of sacrifice so that you can build a foundation of wealth for the future. 

This is also where you will need to learn to kill your ego. Pride will never serve you in building bigger goals. Instead, it will keep you playing small because if you think you’re above working a less than desirable job or worrying what others think, It’s going to be very difficult when failure comes your way.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS AN INACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF LIFE 

This should go without saying but it can be really hard to fully sink into your mind. The lives you see people living online aren’t real and if even they are real, you shouldn’t care. 

What people do with their lives, their money, who they date, and the seemingly luxurious vacations they go on should mean nothing to you. It’s so easy to waste your time on Instagram and YouTube watching others live a life that looks like perfection, while yours looks dull and sad in comparison. You have to remember that, their life is not a reflection of who you are and making comparisons isn’t doing you any favors. 

You have to stay in your lane! Which means, you need to eliminate all the noise and the distractions. Instead of seeking inspiration on social media through the lives of other people, find inspiration in your own life. Go to new restaurants, visit a new town, walk to the park, talk to your friends, call your grandmother! Do anything that gets you out in the world talking to real people, having real experiences and gain inspiration from there, not your phone screen. 

KNOW WHO YOU ARE, PERIOD. 

Know who you are, so no one can tell you who you are. There will always be voices and opinions aiming to influence how you live your life. It may be the well intentioned critiques from your parents, the cultural norms imposed by society, or the sinister guidance of someone who wants to tear you down. Your voice and your character must always be louder. The knowledge of self will give you the strength to stand firm in your decisions, learn the lessons that life is teaching you, and make your time here on earth something truly worthwhile.