How to Overcome Instant Gratification and Achieve Success
Life is filled with many pleasures.
Pleasures that we intensely crave day in and day out.
These pleasures however are mostly fleeting. They provide our brains with a nice rush of dopamine at the moment of indulgence, which then quickly subsides, leaving us craving that pleasurable rush once more.
This is an incredibly powerful cocktail of neural activity that completely blinds people to long-term pleasures (such as becoming financially independent) and traps them into always chasing that next short term rush.
For some people this means repeating the same activity over and over again to get that feeling back, for others it means engaging in one particular pleasurable but unproductive activity for a long period of time and for others still it’s a broad mix of different activities that they can choose from to obtain that high.
And we’re not talking about drugs here (although they can fit the bill as well), we’re talking about anything from gaming and shopping and watching TV to eating and partying and having sex.
Almost any activity that you enjoy can fall into the instant gratification category. Any activity that is not helping you progress to where you want to be in life that is.
The idea here isn’t to convince you to kill all the fun in your life to focus on work but to simply make you aware that this is happening in your brain every day and help you instantly gratify yourself more responsibly.
The Age of Instant Gratification
The problem is that chasing instant gratification has become so ingrained in our culture that it’s practically celebrated making it that much more difficult to see it for the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing that it really is.
At no other point in history have humans had this much ability to constantly indulge in the pleasure of activities that bring instant gratification.
The state of technology (mainly the internet and our ability to access it) combined with the proliferation of credit (being able to obtain almost anything without even having money) means that people more or less have the ability to get some kind of instant gratification whenever they want.
With instant gratification providing activities readily available at your fingertips at a moment’s notice through an endless number of channels, you are almost guaranteed to fail at your long term objectives and fail to achieve your long term goals unless you make a concentrated and continual effort to fight off that urge.
To be successful requires making sacrifices, and in today’s world that amounts to denying yourself the easily obtainable pleasure to focus your energy and resources on activities that are not pleasurable at all (initially anyway).
Doing this is uncomfortable, difficult and even painful when your brain is so accustomed to constantly accessing some kind of high but is absolutely crucial if you want to improve your life and improve your life in whatever way you desire.
We have entered into an age of instant gratification that is killing the dreams and long term ambitions of far too many people.
The desire to become successful or achieve financial independence is essentially universal. Yet the unending stream of short-lived distractions keeps people paralyzed and ensures they will never fulfill their greatest ambitions.
The Success Awakening
How come year after year you find yourself stuck in the same place having made no progress toward your dreams of being financially independent or doing something you love for a living?
The reason is you were too busy consuming and indulging to seize the opportunity that presents itself every single day to take that small but necessary step toward your true desires.
You trick yourself into thinking that you “deserve” to spend your free time gratifying yourself after putting in your 8 or 10 or 12 hours at a job.
Hell, maybe you do given what you put up with, but if you ever want to get ahead, if you ever want to make something of yourself, you have to sacrifice a hell of a lot more than that.
As far as success is concerned, time spent at your job doesn’t count for shit. The clock for success starts when you’ve made it home, when you finally have the free time to do real work. Work that can eventually lead you to where you want to be in life. Work that you love and are passionate about.
The people who are successful in life start that clock whenever possible. Whether they have 30 minutes a day, only a few hours on the weekend or have to cut into their sleep, they make sure they bank some time. Sooner or later that banked time will start paying them dividends.
The more time you deposit into your success bank, the better chance you have of becoming successful.
However, if you fail to capitalize on this opportunity day in and day out with the time you have, the odds are you will never get to where you want to be in life.
Choose Success Over Instant Gratification
You only have so much time available to you in your life. Choose to deposit even a small portion of it consistently over a long period of time into your success bank and you will soon find yourself well along the path to success.
However if you keep spending it all on instant gratification, you will continue to be stuck.
Figure out activities that will help get you to where you want to be and start engaging in them as often as you can. Every little bit counts especially at the beginning. While you might not make much progress time wise, the simple act of doing something productive will help build the habit of effectively utilizing free time and help break the addiction of instant gratification.
Depositing time into your success bank will eventually become so easy and natural that you’ll start craving those activities just as you once did instant gratification.
Once you hit this point, you’ll be able to make significant deposits each week that can quickly add up to achieving success.
When it comes right down to it, success is simply a choice.
Choose to consistently deposit time into your success bank and you will eventually become successful.
Choose to spend time on instant gratification instead and you will have missed a prime opportunity to take one step closer to realizing your dreams.
The choice is yours. What will it be?