Achieving Constant Gratification
You may have heard about the benefits of delayed gratification. It’s been touted as one of the key components of an enjoyable life. You’ve heard that it’s a sign of intelligence, that it’s a common trait of successful people, and that it’s one of the best ways to create a better future for ourselves. But the concept of delayed gratification stands in direct contrast to our innate way of being, which is to pursue and receive instant gratification.
As humans, we are wired for instant gratification. We tend to make choices based on what we want in the moment. And we often make decisions that don’t support our long-term goals—even when we know what the “right” decision is. But what if we could make our natural inclination for short-term satisfaction work for us instead of against us? What if we could leverage our need for getting what we want now to help us get what we want in the future?
Well, we can.
You see, humans like making progress. When we take action and make progress, we experience gratification. (Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what we’re making progress on; we just like the fact that progress is being made.) So, to use this need for instant gratification to our advantage, we must take action that results in measurable progress. This means we need to break our long-term goals down into short-term goals that can be measured on a per action basis.
People who truly understand the concept of delayed gratification have figured this out. They have identified the short-term goals that support their long-term goals by breaking them down into measurable and realistically achievable actions. They have effectively leveraged their need for instant gratification by consistently executing on their actions, which gets them what they want now and simultaneously leads them to where they want to be in the future.
This concept can be more accurately described as “constant gratification.” It’s the idea of ensuring everything we do becomes an action that creates measurable and meaningful progress in our lives. It’s making the things we want right now support the things we want for ourselves in the future. And it’s taking our natural tendency for short-term satisfaction—a trait that is all too often perceived as a weakness—and turning it into a strength.
Being wired for instant gratification isn’t a bad thing. We just need to learn how to use it in a constructive way. How might you make constant gratification work for you?