In the Western world in particular, we idolize money and living a life of luxury. Our culture tells us that more money will make us happier; that we need to buy things in order to be content. We are constantly told to buy now and pay later, or that we need the newest and latest thing. This is the ideology of instant gratification.
Instant gratification is a mindset in which we seek immediate pleasure or satisfaction, without thinking about the consequences. It’s a trap that can be difficult to break out of, because the instant gratification mindset is always telling us to give in to our cravings.
But does more money really make us happier? Or is the saying ‘more money, more problems’ truly accurate? In this article, we will explore the effects of instant gratification and money on our happiness.
What is Instant Gratification?
Instant gratification is an attitude toward life in which our brains crave immediate pleasure or satisfaction, with little or no thought about the consequences. We end up in a cycle of seeking short-term pleasure, without taking the time to think about what we really want in life.
The term “instant gratification” was first explored in the early 1960s by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel.
The instant gratification mindset is always saying, “I want it now!” This can be a problem, because often the things we crave don’t make us happy in the long run. For example, we might crave new clothes, a new car, or a bigger paystub, but these things won’t bring us lasting happiness.
The Effects of Instant Gratification on Our Happiness
When we spend our lives constantly seeking short-term pleasure, we end up unhappy and unfulfilled. The instant gratification mindset tells us to give in to our cravings, without taking the time to think about what will make us truly happy.
Here are some of the effects of instant gratification on our happiness:
- We become more focused on material things, and less focused on what really matters in life.
- We become more stressed and anxious, because we’re always worried about the next thing we need to buy or the next bill we need to pay.
- We become less happy overall, because chasing after short-term pleasure doesn’t make us happy in the long run.
- We lose touch with our own values and desires, because we’re always seeking pleasure from outside sources.
Suddenly, our ‘regular’ lives don’t satisfy us anymore. We are sick of generating W-2 forms and other boring office paperwork, and our current relationships and life circumstances aren’t good enough.
How Money Affects Our Happiness
In our culture, we are constantly told that money is the key to happiness. The ideology of instant gratification tells us that we need to buy things in order to be content. But does more money really make us happier?
There is a lot of research on this topic, and the answer is not entirely clear. Some studies say that money does make us happier, while others say that it doesn’t have a significant effect.
One thing that is clear, however, is that money does not bring lasting happiness. Once we reach a certain level of income or wealth, our levels of happiness don’t increase any further. In other words, having more money doesn’t make us permanently happier – it only makes us happier in the short term.
So what does make us happy? According to research, it’s things like strong relationships, feeling connected to a larger purpose, and having a sense of control over our lives. It’s receiving a 1099 form for a job well done, knowing that you contributed in a significant way to society and used your skills to make a living.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the ideology of instant gratification is not good for our happiness. It tells us to give in to our cravings without finding fulfillment. And it’s not just about buying things – it can also be about seeking short-term pleasure from our work, relationships, and other aspects of our lives.
When we focus on instant gratification, we lose touch with what really matters to us. We become more focused on material things, and less connected to our own values and desires. And in the end, this doesn’t make us happy.
So what can we do to break out of the instant gratification mindset? Here are a few tips:
- Take some time to figure out what really matters to you. What are your values and desires? What makes you happy in the long run?
- Make a plan for how you want your life to look. What steps can you take to move closer to your goals?
- Start saying no to things that don’t matter. When we say no to instant gratification, we free up time and energy for the things that are truly important to us.
- Practice self-compassion. When we’re caught in the cycle of instant gratification, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves. But self-compassion can help us break out of this mindset.
Money doesn’t make people happy in the long run. Take some time to figure out what really matters to you and make a plan for how you want your life to look.