Earlier this month, the staff of the British Royal Family were called to Buckingham Palace for an emergency meeting 3 am London time. Scandal! People all over the world were freaking out and assumed the worst.
Causing only more stress and frustration around the world. A “whopping” 8 hours later The Palace announced Prince Philip would step down from royal duties at 95.
As a bystander scrolling through social media feeds, it was clear people were shocked they had to WAIT for confirmation. Surely the traditional British Royal Family understands we live in a 24-hour instant social media news cycle and that we except to know everything straight away. Right?
I want and expect it now and I should know are statements courtesy of instant gratification. Instant gratification is our desire to experience pleasure without any delay. I know I enjoy the pleasure of my phone beeping with a text message notification. But, the feeling of pleasure usually quickly disappears and sometimes can even cause anxiety if no messages follow.
Because we live in a constantly switched on and connected society, we are finding it increasingly difficult to wait and not know. This feeling is not exclusive to young millennials anymore.
I want it now!
While the need for instant gratification is not new, our expectation of ‘instant’ has become faster, and as a result, our patience is thinner. Waiting four days for an online delivery seems like an eternity, as we become accustomed to instant everything.
Think about it, we can order almost everything in an instant. Just have a look at these 50 things we don’t do anymore because of technological advancements.
Smartphone apps have eliminated the need to wait for a cab, restaurant, movie or even a date. Online privacy thrives on our impatience. Online stores are working hard to keep up, with many increasingly offering same day delivery. A phenomenon which consumers now expect. I know I will pick a store with same day delivery over 7 to 10 business days.
Conversely, companies such as YouTube, which rely on advertising, have restored to forcing viewers to watch advertisements by adding features that prevent people from fast forwarding.
A University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Ramest Sitaraman conducted a study to establish at what point do people leave a YouTube video because of an connectivity and image quality.
“A wait of 40 seconds or more will eliminate one-third of the audience”
Our impatience though is beginning to have repercussions beyond Internet usage and purchasing habits.
I don’t know …
Alright, brace yourselves, there is going to be a whole generation soon of people who will never have to say, “I don’t know.”
We have access to the world in our pockets and can find out almost anything in seconds. “I don’t know” will be replaced by “Just Google it.”
Instant online searches have rendered mystery obsolete in our society of immediacy.
Jesse Weinberger in her Ted X ‘The danger of instant gratification’ talk was shocked to find out American students are no longer being taught state capitals. Why, because you can just Google it. Weinberger also discussed how instant gratification is changing how we learn. We are now learning how to use the tool not the process of learning.
Weinberger uses the example, we are teaching children how to use the calculator not how to calculate algebra. This was a big ah huh moment for me.
A lack of patience is fine, but when raising children, teaching or, advancing our careers, sometimes there is no way around slow. When people don’t achieve or receive expected fulfilment, they may feel frustrated and in extreme cases, even seek a new job.
Instant gratification cannot grant us lasting satisfaction. Its purpose is to substitute the deep pleasure of instant enjoyment.
Why does this all matter?
As technology grows, our behaviour changes and adapts to the revolutionised world around us.
“We have adopted a need for instant gratification guided by modern technology and ultimately expect it in all facets of their life.”
Instant gratification is not bad and should not be confused with entitlement. Entitlement is the belief one is deserving of certain privileges whereas instant gratification is increasingly becoming a product of our society. Our growing expectation for results is getting quicker. How crazy is that.
There is nothing wrong with wanting or needing things, experiences, or products in a timely manner. But, as humans it is important to weigh our needs and wants with a realistic sense of timing and patience.
Sometimes better things do happen to those who wait.