Instant and Delayed Gratification… The daily battle

The battle between Instant and Delayed Gratification is a daily war to face not only in business/career, but very much in the personal space too. With a deeper outline into how it has the potential to balance within a 24-hour time frame we would need to understand both sides to each coin.

Gratification by definition is the state of feeling great satisfaction. The feeling you get after completing a task before or on a specific deadline, alternatively that take-out meal you convinced yourself you needed after having faced a day of pure chaos.

Now that we have a fair understanding of gratification, let’s dive into the pros and cons of both Instant and Delayed Gratification in both the workplace and personal space.

Instant Gratification

Instant gratification, the desire for immediate satisfaction, has become increasingly prevalent in both the workspace and personal life. In today’s fast-paced society, people seek quick rewards and instant results in various aspects of their lives.

Keeping in mind that there is a time and space for an instant reward, here are a couple of pros and cons in both the personal and business/career paths:

Pros of Instant Gratification:

  • Immediate satisfaction: Rewards that boost our moods and happiness.
    • Personal – as we may have discovered having a “guilty pleasure” (i.e. Chocolate) improves the mood substantially which in turn reduces the stress and anxiety the day may have offered. Thus, decreasing our need to wait or worry about an uncertain outcome.
    • Business/ Career – with technological advancements it has become effective with automated systems which decrease the time needed on certain projects which in turn opens the door to the one thing we all seem to crave- more time.
  • Motivation: the anticipation of instant gratification can lead an individual to achieve quick results.
    • Personal – family night with take-out is a great way to achieve the goal of having a meal as well as opening up more time to enjoy a series you’ve been craving to watch.
    • Business/ Career – working in the business, where the payment of the service or product offered has an instant monetary gain after.
  • Social validation: praise for immediate success.
    • Personal – as social media has become a leading factor in instant gratification, the immediate like, comment or share on a post offers a sense of achievement and the feeling of being seen and accepted.
    • Business/ Career – having completed that project or assignment and having the acknowledgement of work well done is a great motivator to continue to produce great work.

As glorious as these pro’s may be regarding the instant gratification, which I am sure you are able to add a few more to the list, there are some drawbacks to take into consideration. Let’s have a look at some cons.

Cons of Instant Gratification

  • Lack of long-term fulfillment: Immediate rewards may not lead to lasting happiness or personal growth.
    • Personal – adding to the chocolate example, as great as the reward may be once the sugar decreases facing reality becomes a lot more present.
    • Business/ Career – without a truly honest look at how a long-term goal is the accumulation of the smaller wins may send us in a spiral where burnout and heightened anxiety are found.
  • Risk-taking behaviour: pursuing instant gratification without considering consequences can lead to impulsive or harming decisions.
    • Personal – getting into conflict without being able to take a step back and approach the situation with a sound mind could lead to misguided information and on a grander scale end a relationship.
    • Business/ Career – having a new approach to showing up in the career or business is great, not having a plan of action and a good look at what the outcome could be may either damage or destroy the growth you are seeking.
  • Inability to delay rewards: difficulty in delaying gratification may hinder long-term success or financial stability.
    • Personal – starting up a diet without a plan and having an unrealistic timeline to achieving the desired weight can have us fall back into patterns that cause more health concerns.
    • Business/ Career – investing in excess products or services for the business or organization without understanding the dynamic of the consumer, economic standing, cash flow, etc. This could lead to damage of the financial efficiency of the business/ organization.

Now that there is some awareness of the elements of Instant Gratification and how it could add to or take away from your business/ career and personal growth, let’s dive into what Delayed Gratification may have on offer for you.

Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is a concept that holds significant importance both in the workspace and personal life. It refers to the ability to resist immediate rewards or pleasures in order to achieve better long-term outcomes. This concept is often associated with improved self-control, enhanced decision making, and overall success.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons to better understand how we can find the balance in both personal and business/career.

Pros of Delayed Gratification

  • Better Long-Term Outcomes: delayed gratification can lead to more significant achievements and personal growth.
    • Personal – take studying for example, to get a degree/ PHD it takes a couple of years if not more to lay the foundation of the certification.
    • Business/ Career – starting a business or entering into a new place of employment there is a period of time needed to understand the dynamics, have automated process in place and what the purpose is of the business/ organization including your role.
  • Improved Self-Control: developing the ability to delay gratification can lead to increased self-discipline and self-regulation.
    • Personal – heading off to the gym doesn’t guarantee immediate weight-loss and strength, these are developed over time with consistent action leading to improved self-trust.
    • Business/ Career – learning the foundations of what makes a business successful or your role in a company comes through the learning process which takes time to develop and setting aside the time to work on it each day builds the muscle of success.
  • Enhanced Decision Making: considering long-term consequences leads to more thoughtful and rational choices.
    • Personal – knowing that the smaller habits created overtime feed into the behaviour that will support your routine of each day that sets you up for your idea of a successful life.
    • Business/ Career – understanding the aim of marketing, for example within a business opens space to become more intentional with what gets showcased on social networks. Likewise, as a career path with a defined outcome for the position offers space for increased performance.

Now that we have a more defined outline of the pros to delayed gratification and how it may impact the direction of our success, let’s have a deeper look into the cons of delayed gratification.

Cons of Delayed Gratification

  • Lack of immediate gratification: waiting for rewards can be challenging and may lead to frustration or impatience.Personal – planning the birthday event and sending out invites and having those we have asked to attend, not respond.Business/ Career – marketing for example in your business or career line is designed to take time as you build trust around you brand and reach new potential clients or consumer.
  • Potential missed opportunities: focusing solely on the delayed gratification may lead us to overlook present enjoyment or experiences.Personal – putting all focus into work, we miss the opportunity to develop and enjoy the moments only family and friends can offer.Business/ Career – overlooking the development of relationships built, assuming they would be with you along the journey you have decided to take.
  • Mental Strain: the constant need for self-control can lead to mental strain.Personal – let’s take healthy eating for example, avoiding a cheat meal as we fear falling off the health train and not being able to pick ourselves up again leading heavily into obsession.Business/ Career – hyper fixating on a task that all other tasks have little to no attention until the time frame set reaches closer to its deadline, adding in over-time, sleep deprivation, brain fog and so much more.

In Conclusion

The concept of instant and delayed gratification offers valuable insight into achieving personal and business/career success. While instant gratification may provide immediate satisfaction, it often lacks the depth and long-term benefits that delayed gratification can offer.

By finding a balance between both, we can harness the power of instant gratification to fuel our motivation and drive in the short term, while also embracing delayed gratification to cultivate patience, discipline, and perseverance for long-term success.

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