We are in the age of instant gratification now


Once upon a time, I remember attending a talk in my church which focused on prayer, specifically when and how God answers prayers. It was given by one of the community members of the Charismatic group which my mom and I used to attend and I was probably in high school at the time. The speaker was focused on how we want everything instant – this was in the mid 90s and he was sharing how we had instant noodles and instant coffee and mobile phones where we can instantly connect with each other (he was alluding to the fact that God is neither an instant meal provider nor he uses a cellphone to connect with us through prayer)

ALthough that was back then, things have taken far worse now. With the advent of the internet (in which I have written about in the past), things have become far more faster and improvement in connectivity speeds have made leaps and bounds to the point that you don’t need to download movies anymore? In today’s digital world, torrents have become passe as downloads have become things of the past. In today’s world where you have netflix, spotify dominating video and audio consumer consumption and youtube where you literally can get anything and everything media related, the age of instant gratification is now upon us. You don’t even need to waste time downloading.

And that has really posed so much risk. Netflix, while is a great cable provider alternative has made everyone a virtual couch potato and in effect reduced our need to experience delayed gratification. We want it now, fast and with high expectations. Gone were the days where we needed to wait for a cartoon to show up and religiously shape our schedule so we would be in time to catch it on tv. Gone are also the days where we would patiently sit for our turn to watch our favourite tv show in the family room. Gone are also the days where we would watch tv as a family. These days our laptops and tablets have become our TVs. Wife can watch her favourite soap opera while the husband catches up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones while both are sitting side by side. I even had a friend who once boasted to me that he doesn’t have a TV in his house because he doesn’t want to spoil his kids with too much tv but admits he can’t live without the internet. So much for having a TV in house when all you have done is just replaced it with one medium for another.

As a father, I do worry about my family. I do worry whether my child will grow up not knowing what the virtues of patience will mean to him and his world. In an age of delayed gratification, attention spans have become shorter, hard work and struggling through with work to produce real effort has been replaced with finding work which involves least effort but with the greatest impact. With people’s attention span falling shorter no thanks to instant gratification, we are going backwards in a time where the person who can capture the greatest amount of attention wins the day and the person who can captivate you in a few words or with rich-content media wins your attention and time.

Strap yourself, its going to be a short-attention filled ride up ahead.

P.S – This is true even in the blogging world. 10 years ago, blogs still formed a part of the online community. It took effort to crystalise one’s thoughts and articulate them into meaningful context for people to read. Thanks to instant gratification, you only now have 160 characters to get your point across or use pictures/videos to communicate with others. Goodbye words. Hello emoticons

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