Instant Gratification


by James Leahy


The psychological concept of Instant Gratification refers to the idea that humans like to have what they want right now; not later and they don't want to wait. You will notice that products and services that promise instant push-button results tend to do well. Think Aspirin for pain and McDonalds for fast food. Humans are mostly short term and Instant Gratification orientated because if you value immediate results you stay alive. It's an Evolutionary advantage that has played out over a period of millions of years and was very valuable when we were living in different times.


The challenge is that most of us do not have to face life or death situations, seek food and shelter and defend our territory everyday anymore. This creates quite a challenge, now that we don't need to work all day everyday to just survive, what do you do with all the free time...? What do you do with all the resources...? Especially if you have hard wired seek Instant Gratification in your head and in your system.


The most obvious evidence of this hard wired internal mechanism is the way humans use CREDIT when they have access to it. As a general rule; if a person has access to money, they spent it no matter what the future costs or implications are. We mortgage the future for Instant Gratification and lower our overall quality of life in the process.

Giving in to the need for Instant Gratification generally lowers your quality of life; generally speaking. You will notice that most of the great things that happened in history, most of the huge fortunes that were made, most of the huge successes all happened over a period of years. If you find someone who is really successful, someone that has made a ton of money and who has a lot of influence, maybe owns a lot of Real Estate or whatever it is...... You will usually find that they earned it or they accomplished it over a long period of time. Unless they inherited it or they married it or whatever. 

You will also notice that if they didn't earn it over a long period of time and they just get it, they usually figure out a way to get rid of it. They usually figure out a way to lose it because their Self Image isn't inline with what it took to get it. They didn't know how to get it in the first place so once they have it, it is immediately taken from them by people that have a greater vision.

I would like to give you all a new context for life and this is one you are going to have to program yourself with. In this new context the kinds of results that you desire like financial and relationship success are most effectively created over longer time frames. Since humans aren't wired to to delay gratification and think in longer time frames we usually sabotage our own success at one point or another by contaminating our own plan with short term thinking. In other words... we start saving money in the piggie bank and then one day we get hungry so we smash it open and go spend the money and eat some fast food.

It is critically important that you learn to think in time frames of a year or more and then put a concerted effort everyday in pursuit of your objective. You are going to live the rest of your life in the future; so make your future great; now.

I am not talking about dis-associating from yourself and making everything about the future, what I am talking about is consistent lifestyle choices that make your quality of life better in the future. The more you invest in the future, the better it will be when you get there.

Humans will spend all the money they can get their hands on. I have also again heard and this is only a rumour from a friend of course... not me you understand... ;-) Reputedly that Strippers go through money very quickly. Unbelievably quickly. Many of them make $30-$50K/MONTH in cash, that's like before taxes and this isn't money that they usually voluntarily pay taxes on and alert the Government to. Yet they are always broke. Yet this is only a story I have heard from someone of course... So what's going on...? Instant Gratification. Instant Gratification. Instant Gratification. It can make your future horrible.

Underneath it all, I think that most people really want 'A' without having to do 'B'. We want a return, without having to invest. We want a reward, without work. We want performance, without preparation. We want security, without risk. We want action, without a plan. We want instant gratification, without having to delay gratification. Are you starting to see the picture...?

For those who are in marketing and I know a lot of my customers and readers of my website are, and you want to sell a lot more of your product. Sell this concept to your customers. Sell the idea that you can help your customers get 'A' without having to do 'B'. This is a timeless marketing strategy because, it works.

Think about the places in your life now with me for a second that you want the return without having to do the investment. The reality is that each side is essentially the same thing. Investment IS work IS preparation IS risk IS planning IS delaying gratification. Return IS reward IS performance IS security IS action IS instant gratification. Once you begin to see the world from the invest first paradigm your results WILL increase dramatically over the long term. Trust me on this. There are many different examples of this I have seen from many different places.

When I work on things in my life I never start on anything that is significant unless I plan right from the beginning to devote many decades into it and that helps in a lot of ways. Why? Well, you are not going to invest any time if you do not think that you are going to get the return, if you are going to invest years into it. You are just not going to start down that road. It is like a self governing system. Likewise, when you enter something with a mindset that you are going to spend five years or more doing this as a minimum, you set it up differently. You spend a lot of time at the beginning planning, designing it and making sure it's architected correctly so that you are not blowing your time. When you do something over five years or more, the results you get at the end when it was thought out and thought through over that time are dramatic. They are tremendous. They are unbelievable.

It takes a long time to do any of the great things that humans have done if you look back in history. If you have ever watched the Science channel on Fox and you see how they build skyscrapers or bridges that take twenty plus  years to complete or even more amazing, the great pyramids of Egypt you The tremendous amount of planning and work that went into these projects is FAR beyond what most people are capable of even contemplating. But make no mistake, that level of commitment and discipline is what is required if you want to have great results in your life.