Our society, worldwide but especially in wealthier nations, can be called the ‘instant gratification society’. Are you affected by the instant gratification society? Be careful before you answer, “No.”
People have probably always wanted to do things the easiest and fastest way possible. There is nothing wrong with that and it makes perfect sense to approach our day-to-day situations in that manner. However, people very often go a little overboard, partly because we now have technology that often allows us to achieve instant gratification.
There are many examples that could be cited, but most technology is based on the goal of instant gratification. While we used to take an hour to cook something on a stove, we can now pop it in a microwave oven and nuke it for 10 minutes. We used to need to go someplace that had a phone in order to call someone. Now we carry our portable phones with us.
Even computers are designed to be fast. One of the earliest computers I had (not the earliest, but one of the earliest) was a 286 computer that I put a 14.4 modem in. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, a 286 computer was a very slow dinosaur of a computer that didn’t have very much computing power and a 14.4 modem was a slow connection to the precursor of today’s Internet. At the time, that was a fast computer and modem, however, it was common for me to click to open a program and to literally go in and make myself a cup of coffee. By the time I returned, I felt fortunate if the program was loaded and open.
Downloading a small picture often took 3-5 minutes or more. I remember being amazed at the speed when I upgraded to a 56k modem, which operated at less than a tenth of the speed my current high-speed cable connection operates with.
I currently use a dual-core computer that has a processor that’s many times faster than that old 286. Do I need it? No, but it is faster and easier and nice to have. Thus, I’m affected by the instant gratification society. In fact, my current computer isn’t especially fast by today’s standards.
Are you affected by the instant gratification society? Are you part of it? To answer these questions, think about these other questions:
* Do you ever get impatient waiting for a bag of popcorn to finish popping in the microwave?
* Do you get impatient if you have to wait longer than 5 minutes in a grocery store checkout line?
* Do you ever use an ATM machine rather than going into a bank to withdraw money or writing a check?
* Do you ever order something and pick it up in the drive-through?
* Do you call in a prescription so you can just drive to the pharmacy to pick it up, rather than waiting for it to be filled while you wait?
* Do you get upset or frustrated if you are in traffic and find yourself behind someone who is going 5 mph below the speed limit?
* Do you ever buy pre-made meals at the store in order to save time and effort?
These are only a few examples, but answering yes to any of these indicates that you are affected by the instant gratification society. While we can muse about the impatience of teenagers in the world today, they weren’t the ones that started the instant gratification society. People from their 30’s to their 70’s did that. That includes me.
Before we can be justified in lamenting about the impatience of others, we must first recognize the impatience in ourselves. It is that impatience that directly caused the instant gratification society we live in today.
Are you affected by the instant gratification society?
Yes, a little