Instant Gratification Is Making Me Instantly Impatient

One of these days my buddy John Cave Osborne is going to make it out to L.A. and we're going to hit a Laker game. The occasion might even merit a t-shirt with his picture on it, perhaps the one of him and the pink pillow. Ok, I probably won't make the t-shirt. You can blame my laziness on having given in to the collective, I am a member of the instant gratification society.

Instant gratification is our unofficial motto. We want everything now and if not now than in mere seconds from now. Instant gratification means that we carry and use our cellphones everywhere so that we can call people at a moment's notice. No more wandering through stores or stopping at gas stations in search of a pay phone. No more worries about carrying a dime or a quarter for that call.

Remember when it was a big deal to make a long distance call. Long distance calls were expensive and we were only too happy to see Ma Bell compete with MCI, Sprint and other providers of cheap long distance services. Cell phones helped to kill that.

The proliferation of email helped to change things too. Email came along and changed written correspondence in a profound way. The speed with which it flew over the net made sending a letter by post seem quaint. Type, point, click and send and off it went.

Cell phones helped change email as well. The evolution of the smart phone made it possible to check your email on the move. You weren't tied down to a desk any more. You didn't have to wait until you got back to the office or until you got home to see what messages awaited you. No waiting was great and something that we all pushed for.

Technological advances that were designed to increase productivity and efficiency levels have impacted our attitudes about time. We don't like waiting for anything and our attention spans reflect this. Fewer and fewer people are blogging or reading long posts. They'd rather spend their time sending texts or using Twitter. Why read 800 words when you can glance at 140 characters.

Spend some time driving and you see more evidence of this impatience. People multitask as they drive and scream at those who don't move as fast as they'd like them to. We're like hamsters in a cage hurrying and scurrying about.

And I include myself. I am guilty of all of these things. If you don't answer my call I am ready to text and email you. And if you don't respond to the text or email in a timely fashion I get irritated. It is narishkeit, foolishness this behavior. I hate it. I hate that when I call someone by the third ring I am already tapping my foot.

I hate this expectation I have that everything should be happening now. It is not how life works. As much as I'd like to see the world cater to my every need that is just not going to happen. So I am making a conscious effort to take a deep breath and not react to all the stimulus.

I am taking a moment to stop and enjoy the moment, whatever that moment is. And I am working on showing my children the value in doing that too. Life moves fast enough without adding any more stress. And now if you'll excuse me I am off to do something else. Maybe I'll look into making that t-shirt now.


benji@israel said...

mobiles and mails became new kind of mental illness-i cant now to answer the phone or not to answer the mail, even though 15 years ago or so i lived perfectly without this shit)))

Jack Steiner said...

Isn't that the truth.

john cave osborne said...

okay, first off, that was not me in the pic. just gotta get that off my chest.

but secondly, it's eerie how similar we think. i was a mischievous kid doing all kinds of things i shouldn't have been doing, i often wondered what my enemies would be as an adult--enemies as they pertain to my children. i now know what it is.

believe it or not, it's not drugs, or booze, though those are timeless foes. instead, it's the immediacy with which today's society works. it's the instant ability to get whatever it is your looking for from whomever it is who is willing to offer it.

my kids will be a mere mouseclick away from getting anything they want, and getting it pretty damn quickly, whether i want them to get it or not.

i'm scared of such technological advance, though am also dependent upon such advances as i attempt to leverage them to further myself on both a personal and professional level.

as always, jack, fantastic thoughts.

and you wait. it may be five years, but i can assure you we'll be throwing one back at Staples at some point.

great post...sorry i'm just now getting to it. very behind on checking out my favorite blogs...

Jack Steiner said...

my kids will be a mere mouseclick away from getting anything they want, and getting it pretty damn quickly, whether i want them to get it or not.

That is one of my big concerns. I am dumb enough to believe that the kids won't find ways around the various filters we try to install. They'll gain access to information that is beyond them so I suspect that at times we'll be playing catch up.

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