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The dangers of instant gratification

Jul 01, 2019 | Posted by Cristina in Newsletters

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The text below was first sent to our newsletter subscribers in May 2019. If you enjoy it and want more, subscribe here.

Helloooo! Hey! Hi there! Welcome to another weekly dose of “weird things that’ve been going through Cristina’s mind”.

I’ve been talking a lot lately about habits and their importance in the big picture, when you start zooming out and think long-term.

From dealing with information overwhelm and the rise of not build their home on rented land (aka build their mailing lists and websites instead of relying on social media channels), how to build resilience and discipline through long-distance running, and more.

In most of the conversations that followed, people came and complained to me that they tried to do all those things, but they couldn’t keep up with them.

They started running, continued with that newly formed habit for a couple of months, but it was hard so they dropped it.

They tried to quit the social media channel they’re most addicted to, but, for whatever reasons, they couldn’t resist and went back to using them. Or they replaced it with a different platform, just as addictive as the first one.

They tried to build a newsletter, but they gave up after a few months, they stopped sending it.

All these are born from our unrealistic expectations. We’re living in a society that promotes and worships overnight success, fast results, all sorts of shortcuts or growth hack techniques.

We crave instant gratification. Think of all the apps we’re using: they’re all built on instant feedback mechanism, available 24/7. You get – and demand – instant reactions, instant connectivity, instant dose of dopamine from all the likes, comments, hearts and ego-flattering reactions. Even instant delivery methods – we order something online and, no matter if there are tornadoes or snowstorms or other severe weather conditions, we want immediate delivery and ownership.

Everything’s developed and consumed much faster, leaving us craving for more.

No wonder that we lost sight of all the long term plans, that we’re not used to *wait* for success, to be patient for it. We want it all, and we want it now. Anything that’s long term is demotivating.

Even worse, it feels like it’s affecting our freedom. We’re afraid to commit to anything that’s long term because we want to “keep our options open”.

Real world doesn’t work that way.

Success doesn’t come overnight. It comes after years and years of working without anyone else knowing, without any kind of recognition.

Ryan Holiday has been writing on his blog almost daily since 2007, has been sending his monthly newsletter for 10 years, written and launched 7 books (btw, he has a new book coming this autumn), held full-time marketing jobs, and launched his own consulting agency. Sure, his books are now bestsellers all over the world, but think of all the content he continued to put out there when nobody heard or cared about him. Oh, and he also runs 5 miles every single day since 2006.

Maria Popova started Brain Pickings in 2006 (yes, 2006) as a newsletter with insights from books that she was sending to 7 friends every Friday. She’s been putting in over 450 hours of hard work per month. Sure, more than 1 million people read her every month – but this is after 13 years of hard, continuous work!

In an interview he gave, Elon Musk said this about Tesla’s recent challenges:

“It was bleeding money like crazy, if we didn’t solve these problems in a short period of time. it was going to die. It came within single digit number of weeks from death. I was working non stop, 7 days per week, sleeping in the factory, worked our way. I worried about myself imploding. Nobody should put this many hours into work. This is not good. People should not work this hard and not do this, it is very painful. It hurts my brain and my heart. It hurts. This is not recommended to anyone. I just did it it because if I wouldn’t have done it, Tesla would have died.”

So why do you expect it to be easy and painless and to happen overnight?

Yes, it’s supposed to be hard. And it’s perfectly normal to fail – and to fail again, to fail multiple times.

It’s supposed to hurt. Significant change hurts. It’s going to hurt for a long time from now – something that your present self will hate. But that’s just in the beginning. Six months from now, or 12 months, or 18 months, your future self will be grateful that you didn’t give up.

There will be long-term payoff.

Stop comparing your beginnings to someone else’s middle.

And I’m certainly guilty of doing this myself.

The text above was first sent to our newsletter subscribers in May 2019. If you enjoyed it and want more, subscribe here.

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