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When we look for definition of gratification, we come across terms like having our desires met, or a pleasurable reaction for fulfillment of our requirements, etc., While it is true, we as a community have moved on to a newer term called Instant Gratification. Just like our coffee or noodles, nowadays we want our gratification also to be immediate. As the name suggests, the feeling of gratification which we get, when we have our desires met immediately, is termed as instant gratification. While it may sound perfect, it is a bit dicey. Some actions can give us instant gratification and there is nothing wrong with that but what about our long-term goals? Can they also be met? If not, where should your focus be? These are some thoughts which we need to answer as individuals as a community.


In the modern age, with regards to technology explosion (also to a greater good), we have got a need to be instantly gratified as a society. Now, we want everything quicker. Remember the times when we used to wait for 10 minutes for an image to load on the internet without any fuss but get irritated when Netflix buffers for 10 seconds? Have we ever thought about that? This is just a small example of how our lives have changed with rapid expansion of technology. But no one here is pointing fingers. Technology growth has enabled us to go to places which we have not thought of. It’s just that psychologically we have lost a bit of patience, I guess. The way we feel has also changed the way seek things or goals. In general, we don’t want to wait for a considerable time to get our dues. Success or the idea of success has become instant in recent times.


Well… this is an interesting area. With the advent or should I say explosion of social media, the idea or need for instant gratification has grown leaps and bounds. We are now running in a world where impressions on social media (likes, comments, subscriptions) matter more than the person next to you in public transport or a collegue. As long as the urge to have instant gratification remains on social media and does not spill over to one’s professional life, it is acceptable. But the worrying scenario is people are not able to view the very thin line which separates them both. Now the current generation of employees want their career growth on steroids. They look for a quick or sometimes expressive ways to have growth in their workplace. No wonder the average time an employee spends at one particular office has come to barely two years. The need or idea that we need to be connected 24*7 has robbed us of time which could be used for deeper reflection or critical thinking.


Though a word called delayed gratification never existed before, it’s a term which is very commonly in use now and it is self explanatory. Assuming that, given a choice for us, what should we choose? Should I go for an instant or delayed? Well… the answer is not simple or direct or for that matter very direct. In some cases, for all its shortcomings, instant gratification is very critical to get ourselves going and for any idea or vision to actually sustain, delayed gratification is critical as it enables you to keep an eye on the future and it doesn’t keep you blinded with short term growth or victories. Some studies say instant gratification releases dopamine (happy hormones) while delayed gratification arises out of strategic thinking. I beg to differ. For eg: you do a code and you get the result on the first try. Does it mean instant gratification is bad? Definitely not. Similarly instant vs delayed have their own advantages.


Now.. we come to a critical juncture. How do leaders go about? Do they look for instant or delayed? It’s both. For a leader to effectively reap the benefits of gratification he/she:

a. Understand gratification.

b. Capable of distinguishing between both and is able to understand and realize each one.

c. Understand that for all its harm, instant gratification has its benefits with respect to team morale and maintaining a positive environment.

d. Build instant gratification to delayed gratification. As leaders, we need to be aware of both instant and delayed gratification and its effect on the team and organization. Sometimes it is quite challenging to keep your team motivated if you are not able to show them quick results as in Instant gratification.

While at the same time, it is critical to keep long-term objectives in mind and not fall for short term happiness. So, to conclude, as individuals, as leaders, as members of community, it is essential we understand the importance and shortcomings of instant gratification and work on overcoming them and leveraging them to realize our growth potential.

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