Ever looked back at your life and wondered where all the time has gone? Ever thought about what really matters? Day after day, we blindly pursue outrageous levels of unattainable achievements, thinking that when we reach a certain level in life, we will instantly be happy.
Instant gratification is what this generation is after. Short-term satisfactions and temporary fulfilment. Like eating chocolate syrup instead of chocolate because you’ve run out of chocolate and don’t want to go all the way to the store to get some. Or buying a thousand-dollar pair of shoes the moment you get your pay cheque. Even instant messaging is an example of instant gratification—whatever happened to the good old days of waiting for the postman?
Smartphones, tablets and laptops are only a few of the sources of instant pleasures in this age. Escalators move faster, movies stream online with barely a few seconds of waiting time, and people tend to feel the urge to drive or walk faster. Cosmetics these days promise instant face-lifts. Apps are developed for the most basic things—booking a taxi, buying movie tickets, even going out on a date. Even your GPS is programmed to direct you on the shortest, most time-saving route to your destination.
However, all this pleasure comes with a hefty price tag—studies have shown that we are so driven by the need for instant gratification that patience has become a virtue as rare as hand-written letters nowadays, and this sense of urgency that has increasingly affected our generation is not something to be taken lightly. Although it undeniably increases our productivity, our mental health is steadily on the decline.
Look around you. While the world moves ever faster, information generation is at its peak. Babies are given iPads and smartphones as entertainment, people are able to send emails as they answer phone calls and watch movies at the same time. Surely, this cannot be healthy? This cannot be right? Remember those days when waiting for an Internet dial-up connection seemed perfectly reasonable? Or when a single web page took more than three seconds to load?
Learn to unplug, relax and unwind. Stop and smell the flowers on your way to work; spare a moment to smile at a stranger. Instead of rushing through shortcuts to reach your destination, try taking the long way home—you never know what you might get in return.