Stop Getting off on Instant Gratification

Josh L
3 min readFeb 16, 2022

Wake up.

Photo by Steven Weeks on Unsplash

There has been a 13% increase in mental health issues in the last decade. Between 2017 and 2018, 19% of adults experienced some kind of mental illness.

It’s an issue for many people around the world today. America is no exception.

Boston University School of Public Health concluded during a study that 1 in 3 American adults suffer from depression.

That’s a lot of people.

Why is mental health taking such a downward spin?

The obvious thing to blame is the pandemic. No one can doubt the impact it had on every single one of us. It has caused unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety.

It forced us to miss time with friends and family. It caused financial trouble and so much more. However, the number of people with mental health issues had been on the rise before the pandemic.

So while it didn’t help, we can’t blame it all on that.

It is sometimes said that as life gets easier, men become weak. In other words, hard times create strong men.

The truth is, if people don’t have to work hard, they most likely won’t. If everything is going well and nothing needs immediate attention, we put it off.

This is how humans are wired.

When people have their backs to the wall, greatness tends to happen. It’s when people figure out a solution to their problems and find a way to overcome their roadblocks.

Times have been easy as of late.

Easy in the sense that working a job has been the only requirement to live. People work their regular job, go home, watch Netflix, and go to sleep. This is the Monday — Friday schedule for a lot of people.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this. We need people that don’t have much ambition or drive to work at their jobs. I’m not saying their life choices are terrible or that they should be ashamed.

What I am saying is that they have it easy. We all do. If you’re reading this right now, a lot of people would kill to be in your spot and have your life.

Netflix, junk food, p*rn, and social media all give us an instant dopamine hit. It’s easy to become addicted to these things.

What’s even more important than that is something else that people look for every second of the day. It’s a phrase that you’ve most likely heard before.

Instant gratification.

We love it. We crave it. We need it.

Many of us are like the child that gets their candy bar taken away. We cry and pout, looking for that one thing to take our minds off life and divert our attention elsewhere.

It’s bad.

Our attention spans are getting shorter as well. Microsoft conducted a study and it concluded that our attention spans have shrunk over 25% in recent years.

It’s down to 8 seconds.

8 seconds is the average amount of time a person can focus without becoming distracted.

This is pitiful.

We need to do better.

When life becomes harder and the average person can’t provide for themselves or their family, people will become strong again. They’ll be a time when going to work and binge-watching shows won’t cut it anymore.

When this happens, some people will adapt. Others will stay the same.

What Can be Done

  1. Focus on the future. Will the future version of yourself be proud of what the present you are doing? If a third-party person was watching every action you took today, what would they say?
  2. Put off instant gratification. Similar to the first point, it involves waiting. Sacrifice the small dopamine hits today so that you can accomplish your dream tomorrow.
  3. Have some discipline. Have a scheduled time for play and work. Respect the schedule and follow it.
  4. Do one thing that makes you uncomfortable a day. This will remind you that life isn’t perfect. You have to work and do things you don’t want to do.
  5. Do these steps for one month straight.

Your future you will thank you.

your mental health will get better. You will kick your dopamine addiction and get back to real life.