Posted: January 31, 2012 in psychology
Tags: ,

Its part of the human condition, a preference for immediate gratification over postponed gratification.  The ability of children to postpone immediate gratification correlates with academic success.  For most of us, healthy habits fail due to our desire for gratification now rather than insuring good health later.  No doubt, this tendency for immediate gratification has evolutionary roots when food and other life necessities were unpredictable.

In my memory, it used to be that financial rewards were the result of saving for the long term. Today you are rewarded by quick windfalls in the market or by manipulating the system rather than by honest work.  Elections are won by the decisions of people who only pay attention at the last moments before voting, not by long term investments in knowing what their vote means.  Most of us are deciding what to do based on the short term rewards, financial and otherwise.  And, groups who understand this tendency are able to take advantage in finances, elections, and social justice issues.

Churches find satisfaction in their service projects because they provide immediate gratification in helping.  They can be so involved in meeting short time needs that they don’t have time to consider root causes.  It is difficult to get people to think in terms of what can be done to prevent floods when the water is seeping under the door or to prepare for an earthquake that just might not happen in the next 10 or 50 years.

Here’s the thing.  Now that I am older and have a grandson, I am beginning to think about what the world will be like in the next 100 years, long after I am gone. [I think this also has to do with age.  see Time Compression blog.]  I have done a lot of service, but what have I done to deal with root causes, looking out for the common good down the road?  At least, I am glad to participate in some community organizing that is concerned for more than the most immediate gratification issue, the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good.

  1. […] 7) […]

  2. Leo Rex says:

    This is true we do tend to live act in the short term of for instant gratification. its going to be interesting to see what things look like in the future also….

    You’ve been nominated for the Versitile blogger award. congrats 😀

    • Leo, thanks for the Versatile blogger award. I am very new to the blog-a-sphere. Actually, I am interested in understanding social media better so thought I would start with a blog based on a lead I got from a 58 page white paper on how non-profits could improve their services by understanding and utilizing social media.
      I am 73, retired in 2006 from a position as a director of Academic Computing at a major medical school/hospital, so I am not unfamiliar with computers, but much of the social media development has happened after I retired. I was lucky to be involved in the late 1970’s in the beginnings of the World Wide Web as our institution, under my leadership, was one of the first in the state of Texas to make use of the web. The point is this: I am just learning about the new phenomenon of social media, so your several responses and feedback are useful. I am experimenting now just to see if my blog is even discovered, much less read. I have several items/topics I still plan to post trying to limit my posts to 3 to 4 paragraphs thinking that is most likely to have them read based on some web development I did for a local non-profit. Any, thanks for the nomination. Cecil Denney, West Linn, OR.

  3. OOPS, I meant late 1990s, not 1970s. Cecil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s