Technology has entered our lives consistently and to an ever increasing degree over the last 3 decades. The internet has absolutely revolutionised how we do everything, including business, finding information and accessing our favourite TV shows. Its incredible to think that once upon a time we had to wait for a letter to come in the mail or stand at the kitchen counter to speak to someone on the phone. Every area of life has been improved in some way by some form of technology. Gone are the days when school projects required photocopying pictures from encyclopedia’s, having a spray of books around you or if you were lucky enough to have a subscription of national geographic books in the junk cupboard you were taken on a journey around the world on every page.
In saying this, the information contained within these books and magazines is not gone, but have taken their new found place on the internet. Information can be found quickly and conveniently on any topic and between instant messaging, e-mail, streaming and even social media, information is more readily available now than ever before. We are by now well aware of the social implications of social media and technology as it stands, we do not need to venture out or meet people as we once did, and the ability to hide behind a profile and screen creates it own issues, but have we considered the effect this would have on our emotional health and ability to think long term?
Now I love how technology has overhauled our lives and created so much flexibility in business, heck I am in my 30’s so I have grown up in the midst of the technology era and it has been truly exciting to see what the next crazy, initially impossible idea made possible would be. But this instant world is creating a different problem. It is effecting our ability to be effective when it comes to looking and considering things in the long term and ultimately has the potential to destroy our self worth.
Instant gratification is ruling our lives..
We have come to expect significant results should happen virtually overnight, in a day, week or month but for those of the ‘old school thinking’ the answer is a resounding no. Big hearty goals are not accomplished overnight, they take time, commitment, belief and resilience in order to create and achieve them. We are all well aware of the saying that anything worthwhile comes from patience, commitment and is generally never easy. Sacrifice is required and resilience is developed as one keeps pushing forward, after all you have sacrificed so much for the result.
Instant gratification has become the norm, the desire for things that makes us feel good and quickly is just a click away, no longer do we have to wait. The problem with expecting to experience results really quickly, tends to lead us to give up too early and this in turn eats away at our self worth. That constant feeling of not being able to achieve due to unbeknownst to us, unrealistic expectations. As I mentioned previously anything worthwhile takes time, commitment and belief in your self and a vision, in some respects given current thinking we are basically setting ourselves up for failure because who has a 10 year vision or even a 5 year vision for themselves and where they are heading anymore.
The tip in this is the successful people do, they have a long term vision for themselves and if relevant for their business or company. We must always know where we are going so that we can align our actions and behaviours in which to support this vision so we ultimately arrive at the destination.
The Marshmallow Experiment
Back in the late 60’s a psychologist at Stanford University conducted an experiment which involved 4 year old children, a bell and marshmallows. Now as we know every four year old loves a good marshmallow, so what does this have to do with instant gratification? Well what this experiment discovered and tested was through asking the children to wait to eat the marshmallow till the researcher returned after they rang the bell they would then receive a second marshmallow. Now some children ate the marshmallow immediately and some were able to abstain for 15 minutes.
What was discovered in the follow-up study was that the children who were able to wait the 15 minutes performed better at school aptitude tests at the end of high school, had less behavioural problems and were rated as more dependable in surveys completed by parents and teachers. Therefore the findings of this experiment suggest that their ability to exercise self control at an early age filtered through to their ability to achieve later in life. In other words their ability to delay gratification for an even greater reward had the biggest windfalls.
This can be easily transferred into the concept of goal setting, not eating chocolate for a month in order to achieve a weight loss goal. To sacrifice time with friends and family in order to create a dream. And the best news is although it can be a struggle in this instant world, we can teach ourselves to wait and be patient.
Virtually everything that the internet and technology currently is, has come from a long line of successes which has come before it. It has grown, changed and has come from a place of innovation and dreams. Technology is like us in that way, we too must also have a view of ourselves as a model always ready for an upgrade, ready for new information, inspiration and possibility. Ourselves, much like technology has the capacity to change each and every year or even day into an even better version.
Where we must differ from technology is in the fact that we are not instant. In order to achieve, become and create what we are wanting to in this life, requires time, commitment, resilience and belief. Time can be our greatest gift if we allow it to be, although the world around us is only getting faster and ironically we must learn to slow down in order to keep up.
Technology is not going anywhere, it is going to continue to innovate and change to meet our ever increasing needs. We as humans will do what we do best which is to adapt to our new surroundings, we have done it for thousands of years, and what’s a few more after all. Though all adaptation we must always come back to who we really are and allow space for us to explore, communicate and interact with those around us, we are social animals who require interaction, face to face, heart to heart.
Set your focus to the long term and allow yourself to dream bigger, you will never know what you could achieve if you never put your mind, skill, belief, resilience to good use or even your full potential. Don’t cut yourself short, live life to the fullest and challenge where you are in order to create the life you truly want.
Never give up on you!!!
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