This post deviates from the the usual content, and is meant to be a motivational piece. I won’t talk about eLearning, lesson structure, or technical details.
Instead, I’d like to share some thoughts about a key concept in learning and achievement: deferred gratification.
Everything revolves around Instant Gratification
We live in a world of fast food and slow thinking. No one can take their time any more; everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere, do something (often many things, all at once).
We are in a rush to get There and be Somebody, and very little can get in our way. If something does happen to cross our paths it will probably be given a moment’s consideration before being cast aside. Some things get labeled for “later” (something that very rarely occurs in a hectic schedule), but many will fall into that black void of past hopes and dreams.
Why do we do this to ourselves? When did it come about that taking the time to make an apple pie is less important than bringing work home with us? Do you remember the first time you pulled that frozen pie from the freezer section of the grocery store, silently congratulating yourself on becoming more efficient? Maybe you weren’t. Being more efficient, that is. Maybe you were falling into a well disguised mouse trap, whether you knew it or not.
And if you haven’t started to look around and realize that taking things slow would benefit your life, then I highly suggest that you give it a try. At the very least, pause and check out everything around you. The iPhone timer, the iCal “ToDo” list, the clients or the bosses targeting you with a never ending flow of requests, questions, last minute changes. Do you like this dystopian world? You can change it if you don’t.
Deferred gratification to the rescue
Deferred gratification is a path to a better life. This may seem a bold statement, but it’s true. You may think of delayed gratification as a way to stop and smell the roses. But not today; next Thursday would be perfectly fine.
What I’m saying is that if you get a craving for a cheeseburger, you don’t run right out and get one. I know it’s tempting to. However, the cheeseburger in question will be much tastier if you eat it two days from now. In fact, it will be even better if instead of swinging through the drive-through on your way home from work you actually take time to buy the ingredients and prepare it yourself. I guarantee it.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone delayed gratification, even for just one day? There would be no road rage because people would not be in such a rush to get to where they’re going; they’ll get there eventually. If more people stopped and went into dining establishments instead of taking bags of food home through a window that’s being timed, there would be less need for blood pressure medication. The general population may benefit greatly from the deferring of gratification, just by pausing to chew their food and not driving cars while simultaneously shoveling tacos into their faces.
This process is not applicable to just eating and safe travel, not by any means. This method of patience practicing can be employed in how we wait in line for just about anything, how we shop for things that we don’t desperately need (household appliances, shoes, that new leather jacket that has to be specially ordered in), or when planting a seed and waiting for the plant to emerge.
Waiting with a clear and open mind, without a deadline set in stone, eliminates so much stress and worry that you will wonder how in the world you lived life on such a strict regiment. All of a sudden you’ll benefit from:
- A quieter mind
- A sense of peace
- Unexpected joy when something does in fact happen quickly simply because it was meant to
- -A greater appreciation for the world around you. When you allow things to happen when they are supposed to, you will sense yourself beginning to fall in tune with your environment
You will need to cultivate a strong sense of self discipline to achieve these results. Self discipline is the art of being able to motivate oneself despite perceived obstacles. You must persevere to develop a strong willpower. You can do this.
When fewer people are rushing to get somewhere that they have deemed it important to be, then more people will derive a greater sense of enjoyment from daily life. When you pause to take in your surroundings and give yourself ample time to take a deep breath before diving headlong into a decision, you will find that the world is a much better place to be in.