Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A World of Instant Gratification

Thoughts from a friend at dinner last night got me to thinking about how we live in a world of instant gratification, yet we are rarely satisfied or content.
It used to be, that in order to have dinner, someone had to slave over a stove for hours to fix up a delicious meal fit for a family. But today, who needs the stove... or even the family. Drive through any restaurant, I would say fast food but now a days that doesn't really apply, and you can order a family meal, hot and ready in minutes.

Who needs to lay out in the sun for hours during the day and miss out on getting things done like grocery shopping, working out, paper work, socializing, etc, when you can get an instant golden, sun-kissed tan in less than 5 minutes. Hello, spray tan. It takes 1 minute to call and make an appointment. Another 3 minutes to drive to the tanning salon (I'd be surprised if you're not that close to one) and then just a quick 5 minutes in a room getting sprayed by a airbrush and viola... you're a summer beach babe.

Want to see that newest movie or hear the most recently release songs by your favorite band. Well don't leave you couch because it is now all at your finger tips in an instant. iTunes has transformed that music industry by increasing sales beyond what many people had every thought of by allowing people to save that trip to the music store. NetFlix and Hulu bring the latest releases to your living room without any effort. 

Why workout for an entire year to get that six pack that you've been craving all of your life. There is now a surplus in the market of instant gratification workouts. P90X promises a rock hard body in only 90 days. You think that's fast?!? Now there is the Insanity Workout that promises even better results in 60 days. Next thing you know, you'll be able to wear a belt at work that will do the working out for you and then you can head home with that six pack you want so badly. Oh wait... there already supposedly is such a thing.

There are job markets that thrive on this need for instant gratification. Advertisements are filled with flashing lights and half naked girls making you believe that if you buy their product, whether it be a car or drink, then you will instantly have that fabulous life in the picture.

Cell phone companies are banking on the fact that we are a world that now needs to have instant, constant communication at every minute with everyone in our phone book; through texting, tweeting, Facebook, BBM, or even Face-time. How many times do you check your email a day? First thing when you wake up?

The newest generation to hit the working work, Millennials (that's me), struggle to hold a job in which they work in a cubical all day long because they want to accomplish something within minutes; see a production in front of their eyes so that they feel satisfied with their work. Who needs the retirement plan that our parents' generation built their life around over the course of 30-50 years. We want to spend our paycheck, that will allow us to live the life that we want now... instant gratification and all.

But what happens when you feel disappointment after eating a biggie super sized value meal and you're not satisfied with the taste or quality? Or when the sun-kissed color begins to fade within a matter of weeks? How about when your phone loses battery life or service; how will you keep up with your "friends" every moves? Or say 30 years from now you're left with nothing but memories of those possessions or experience that you just had to have and sadly now the memories are beginning to fade?

This life of instant gratification doesn't necessarily meet our need for approval and acceptance. Instead it increases that very need. We strive to have "friends" on Facebook or replies on Twitter. We think that after fad diets and workouts we will suddenly feel different about ourselves. But are we truly gratified by these instant entities? Are you someone who lives on the whim of instant gratification?

1 comment: