Instant gratification vs Delayed Gratification

Instant gratification
Delayed Gratification

Instant gratification vs delayed gratification

Instant gratification vs Delayed Gratification

The parent is Gratification, and the children are Instant gratification and Delayed gratification.


We do not love to give freebies.

 Our instinct is to have a lot in return for everything that we give out.

A piece of reward in the end is our drive to work on anything.

Our energy, time, emotions, money, warmth, love, knowledge, and the hard-earned wisdom are sacred to us, and we give them cautiously so that we get something more and better in return.

Whatever we invest a part of us in, we expect a certain reward, result or a positive response in return.

Gratification is an integral part of human needs.

Our receiving mode is always at work.

Right from the time we are born, we seek attention, we want the stuff that attracts us.

The first ever thing that comes almost fully developed in us is our 5 senses.

We are born with a highly efficient system that builds in us the feeling of need and desire right away.

Even if we have caretakers, our senses take the most care of our needs.

The world looks like a place to us that can give us everything that we desire.

The Universe looks like a place that can take our orders and serve them to us as soon as possible.

As we are inherently born with a receiving attitude, the giving attitude becomes harder.

We are living constantly in a wanting mode. We want more love from people around us, more hikes in salary, more luxurious lifestyle, we are not settling for less.

This keeps us in a spiral hook, and we keep circling in it.

We are our favorites, and our needs are our top priority. We are concerned about our emotions. Our entire focus is on ourselves.

Our default mode is receiving mode but if we want to grow and evolve, we need to customize it.

To receive is not bad, to only think of receiving is dangerous.


Now that you know Gratification is the cornerstone of human needs, it isn’t possible to live without it but living with excess of it can jeopardize life.

So, the middle ground is to customize it.

  It has two elements that help us to customize our receiving mode: Instant gratification and Delayed gratification.

The material world will keep us hooked on the desirable things.

The only thing that can be done is to find a middle ground.

A point where we can keep ourselves attached to the result yet not overly affected by them.




Instant gratification and Delayed gratification


Instant gratification is when you cannot wait for a future reward and impulsively indulge in immediate benefits.

That pile of used clothes waiting to get washed demands you to take time and wash them. The reward is waiting on the other side of washing. It is a relief and satisfaction to have clean clothes ready for the week and a clutter-free space.

But instant gratification keeps you hooked to easier stuff that gives you pleasure right away. Instead of washing the clothes, you chose to watch a movie.

You chose pleasure over reward.

You are attracted and carried away by the less rewarding immediate benefit and forego a future bigger reward.

This is when instant gratification is at work.

Instant gratification does not come with a long-lasting joy but a fleeting pleasure.


Delayed gratification on the other hand is the resistance to the temptation of instant pleasure in the hope of receiving a valuable and long-lasting reward in the long term.

That friend asking you to join the night party and have fun, but you avoid it and choose studying for your competitive exam.

This is when the delayed gratification is at work.





Why do we choose instant gratification over delayed gratification?

why we choose instant gratification over dealyed gratification

The immediate satisfaction or pleasure that comes with obtaining something you desire without delay overshadows the power and fulfilment that come with long-term goals and rewards.


 What comes as long-lasting and fulfilling takes long and what gives instant pleasure is right under your nose.

Our mind is wired for easy things unless we see any immediate potential danger. Pleasure takes over the entire game and we fall into the trap of instant gratification.



Contribution of society towards instant gratification

We are living in an era where society markets everything easy, fast and pleasure-inducing.

We have plenty of things at hand to feed our minds with dopamine, to give an instant relaxation.


The new world wants us to sit and enjoy and while we do so, we compromise the future that we wish to create.

We had a default setting to prefer instant gratification over delayed gratification.

And now with the new advanced elements of today’s consumerist society, it reinforces this preference.


Right from online portals to home delivery of groceries, we are getting every service in the blink of an eye.

This is somehow conditioning us for instant gratification in almost every corner of life.

With just a few taps on a screen, people can order products, stream movies, connect with friends, and satisfy their immediate desires.


Everything that gives us an instant feeling of relaxation and pleasure becomes our ideal spot to hang out in.

So, it boils down to one thing -The World is stuffing us with everything that gives instant pleasure and ease making it even harder to pursue the long-term fulfilling things.


The more we indulge in pleasure activities, the less our chance to participate in things that are going to be rewarding.






Aftermath of Instant gratification


No matter how much you indulge in something and how much you avoid doing something, you cannot escape from facing its consequences.


The fact that there are no immediate potential negative consequences of instant gratification and that the delayed gratification does not come with instant rewards, this makes you choose things that look easy and keeps you in an illusion that it is safe.


Some of the potential consequences of instant gratification are:


Instant gratification is fleeting. 

What comes easy and fast stays less.


 Our senses function in a certain way around pleasure.

When we want something and it is right in front of us in no time, the instant feeling of pleasure takes away our curiosity.

The lesser the gap between desire and the result, the faster it loses its charm and value.

It is because your role is in this gap and the lesser your role is, the lesser the pleasure will be.

Because the joy that comes for cheap price fades away fast.



Instant Gratification makes your big goals cumbersome. 

Anything that gives you pleasure without indulging you in any sort of effort to have that pleasure, is a sure short way of amputating your ability to work.


The more you are involved in things that induce pleasure without doing anything, the harder it gets to work for your long-term big goals.


When you do not use a part of yourself, it stops functioning. You start losing your ability to work hard when you indulge in easier things.

Big goals need big efforts and if your lifestyle is amputating your ability to work, the big goals will look cumbersome.



Instant needs block long-term needs

The long-term need is you want a healthy body in your late 50s, the instant need is you want to have pizzas and burgers and all the junk that lures your senses.

You struggle to avoid the instant pleasure that you have an easy access over.

The fact that you do not see any instant threats for eating unhealthily, blocks you from choosing a healthy lifestyle.

The pleasure that comes with unhealthy habits is the biggest block stopping you from building a long-term healthy lifestyle.





Lifetime regrets are more painful than delayed gratification.

Don’t let what doesn’t matter rob you of what truly does.

Your dreams are always big and always the things that your current self cannot afford.

You do not dream of scrolling on social media, watching web series, or eating junk food.

These are never your goals.

They are your coping mechanisms to fulfil your immediate desire for pleasure.

Despite knowing this, you fall into the trap of unproductive things.

Your big goals are like having a great career, having a beautiful house, building your passion, and making a healthy lifestyle. And you are aware that they come with a price, with an investment, with a demand.

No matter how hard these goals are, they aren’t harder than the pain that comes with a lifetime regret of having not invested in them.


Delayed gratification is a painful and long process but the element that makes it safe is, that it keeps you away from fear.

When you choose the right stuff, the fear of things going wrong becomes negligible.






Why is Instant gratification easy and Delayed Gratification hard?

The struggle is not about choosing delayed gratification as much as it is about not falling for instant gratification.


The fact that the world does not see your process, your journey, your mess, the hardships that you go through when you choose delayed gratification, makes it like a loner path where you and only your goal walk on.

The world does not respond to your efforts and does not cheer you on this journey at least until you achieve some tangible results.

Big achievers like celebrities, sportsmen, and artists, get fame and recognition only after they have toiled in their journey and achieved something extraordinary.


So, this somehow creates impatience in us to achieve things as soon as possible because we don’t want to be on this lonely journey for long.


And when the journey gets more lonely, harder, and more challenging, we tend to bypass it and fall for things that come with instant gratification.

Because they make us feel a part of this world, we feel secure when we are one like them which ironically creates more insecure future.

When we participate in the stuff that the crowd indulges in, we feel safe and better even if it is taking us into an abyss.

Being a social animal, we feel a constant need to be in a space that the World follows.

The whole reason behind the hard side of delayed gratification is, that you have to take the ride alone until you stand out and come up with something astounding.





Don’t avoid instant gratification, instead find better ways.

We don’t need to stop ourselves from indulging in instant gratification activities, but we need to find better ways for having instant pleasure.

Only if we reinvent ourselves to choose instant things that are not self-sabotaging but fulfilling, we can make a big turn in our lives.

You can choose to read a page of a book instead of scrolling that mobile screen. Both have instant pleasures but reading a book has a long-term positive result as well. The constraint is we have become addicted to pleasure that comes with only the things that shut our mind and body.

If we break this approach and rebuild a healthier one, numerous activities can give us instant joy without destroying our zeal for delayed gratification.


Watering your plants and seeing them grow right away in a few days gives an instant joy that serves as a precursor to build you for your long-term goals.

You can journal a page every day and see how your endorphins will begin to dance more happily.


You do not have to refrain from instant gratification, all you need is to find better and healthier ways of instant gratification.

It needs a conscious effort, and a strong initiative to redesign your life.

Find small reasons to feel happy for than indulging in easy ways to have pleasure.



3 ways to Embrace Delayed Gratification

3 ways to embrace delayed gratification


Observe Nature. It follows Delayed gratification.

Look deep into Nature and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Advancement makes things easier; it does not necessarily make them better.

Nature is the true representation of how our lives should run if longevity is the goal.

Learning delayed gratification from nature is profound and truly insightful.

Nature is governed by the Creator and fortunately, humans could not interfere with it as much as they have disturbed the picture of the world.

Gradual and slow is how the magic builds. In the fastness, the essence is lost. Nature operates at its own pace without the need to rush, for it knows the right time and right way to bring the best results.

Nature is resilient and adaptable. It accepts the change no matter how hideous it looks because it believes, the other side of change is always a more beautiful picture.

Plants and animals adjust to the changing conditions sometimes sacrificing short-term gains for long-term survival. This resilience teaches us the importance of perseverance and flexibility in achieving our goals.

If you soak yourself in nature and observe its rhythms and patterns, you will realize haste is waste.

Going slow and adapting to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable space is where the real growth is and this is what speeds up your process.



Make the journey interesting to make the goal exciting.

Delayed gratification looks like the carrot and the stick. You see the destination as a carrot and the journey as a stick.

When the goal is big, the journey is long.

And if your attention is glued only to the goal, the long journey will feel even longer. 

But when you shift your focus from the end goal to the process itself, you begin to enjoy the journey and delayed gratification becomes its side effect.


So, when you head towards a big goal that demands delayed gratification, plan your process by dividing it into smaller manageable milestones. Celebrate each milestone achieved along the way, acknowledging the progress you’ve made and finding joy in the journey itself.

If you are just thinking of enjoying the vacation only after you reach the destination, you have every chance of a bad trip.

You might not like the hotel, you might not enjoy the place, you might not like the food.

But if you indulge in the journey right from your home, from the preparations you begin with, enjoy the scenic beauty of the places you pass by in your journey, enjoy the music that you planned to listen in your journey, your vacation is already a great one even before you have reached the spot.


The growth is in the gap between you and the reward.

The gap between where you are and where you want to be is where the growth lies. When you become a victim of instant pleasures for things that are not constructive, you block your growth.

The idea that “growth is in the gap between you and the reward” encapsulates the essence of delayed gratification.

The growth happens in the process and stages between a seed and the fruit.

You are the seed, and your goal is the fruit. Only if you allow the process and go through the stages, the growth allow you to shape into some fruit.

It’s in this space that true transformation occurs, leading to profound personal development and fulfilment.



Instant gratification is a habit, delayed gratification is an essential life skill.

When it comes to achieving your goals, delayed gratification is the skill that will get you there faster.

The truth is, it’s not realistic to get everything you want, or even get it immediately. Instant gratification is actually a source of frustration – it kills curiosity and creates false expectations. By learning to employ delayed gratification, you buy time to strategize thoughtfully.


I will suggest you to not jump to big things of your life to practice delayed gratification but start with something as small as not checking your phone right after waking up in the morning.

Take small steps. You have to develop it like a muscle. This will build your self-control and create momentum to build big goals.



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Hi! This is Sarita Mian.

Welcome to The Locks and Keys 


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