Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The trouble with instant gratification

I constantly crave instant gratification, which is a very common issue in society. We want what we want, and we want it as soon as possible. And we often end up taking the worst possible paths to get it.

Selfishness. Entitlement. Manipulation. Impulsiveness. Cheating. Lying. Self-destruction.

I've resorted to nearly all of the above at one time or another. All because I was too impatient to be patient and too consumed by the hard parts to focus on the forthcoming good parts. I wanted instant gratification. I wanted results. I wanted a straight and easy path to healing, success, personal gain - whatever I was after at the time.

But here's the thing: Being patient and doing the messy, less than pleasant work of achieving or acquiring what you hope to achieve or acquire is really, really, really, really hard. 

Progress takes time, work, and a lot of steps in the wrong direction. I'm learning and re-learning that there's no magic formula, no grand answer, and no obstacle-free path to success and happiness - or anything else for that matter. You can't push people out of the way. You can't resist what needs to happen just because it's not happening the way you wish it would happen. And you can't avoid the truth. You can't avoid what is waiting to be discovered.

I feel like I'm climbing a mountain in 90 degree heat, guys. I'm so tired. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so thirsty. I have cuts and bruises all over me. When I stop to rest, I feel both grateful for the stillness and panicked that I'll never reach the top, never see the view, never bask in the sunlight of victory and growth. And that's when the familiar urge for instant gratification creeps in, begging me to find a short cut where there isn't one or encouraging me to quit altogether when I've already come so far.

It's so challenging. I have days where all the fight has left my body and all I can do is cry. But for every day I don't believe I can make it, I have a day where I manage to find my innermost strength and willingness to try really damn hard anyway.

What I'm ultimately trying to say is this:

I know your journey isn't always easy, and I know the search for instant gratification is tempting. Love hurts, money is scarce, amazing opportunities are difficult to come by, we live amongst a chaotic sea of questions with only little islands of answers scattered here and there, and personal struggles have a cruel way of haunting us, no matter how much progress we made yesterday, last week, last month, or last year.

But hang in there. If it's hard, you're doing it right. If it hurts, it's working. If you're taking the long way, you're on the right path.

<3 Madison    


  1. I really love this and all your writings so much. It motivates and inspire me when i'm at my lowest. Thanks for this.