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The Instant Gratification Society: Have We Lost Our Human Touch?

The Instant Gratification Society: Have We Lost Our Human Touch?

It wasn’t all too long ago that society seemed to move at a slower pace. Everyday tasks such as checking to see when the latest movie is screening or finding your way to a newly opened nightclub used to require a certain amount of time.

The internet has changed all that, and today you can easily accomplish both tasks in a matter of seconds — all without even looking up from your smartphone screen.

Previously “old-fashioned” pursuits like taking a walk in the park have been augmented by popular smartphone app-based games like Pokémon Go, which encourages players to get outside and search the real world for in-game elements like the famous Pikachu character.

The Era of Instant Gratification

According to a 2015 report published by the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans who own a smartphone has nearly doubled in recent years, jumping from 35% in 2011 to 64% last year. Also, 46% of users believe their smartphone to be “something they couldn’t live without,” with major portions of the population now using mobile devices to send and receive email (88%), access online banking (57%), apply for jobs (43%), and even take instructional courses (30%).

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Most people who grew up during the digital age now expect everything, from factual information to fun and entertainment, delivered to them at the click of a button.

Coffee aficionados can order their favorite latte online and have it ready right when they walk in the door. Poker players who are looking to play online poker for real money can get instant access online to games when they don’t have time to download a full software package and still enjoy the same bonuses. Students learning a foreign language or living abroad can record the words of a stranger and immediately translate their meaning.

While this ease of access can streamline many aspects of social interaction, leading to increased efficiency and more time in the day for actual activities, many observers fear that the opposite may be occurring. Rather than freeing people to spend more time with one another, smartphones and the instant gratification they provide could actually create a heightened sense of social isolation.

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Young_people_texting_on_smartphones_using_thumbs

    Source: en.wikipedia.org

    The World Behind A Screen

    A recent study in Psychology Today revealed that over 90% of respondents in all age groups made fewer than 10 phone calls per day. Instead of speaking to their friends, family, and fellow human beings, smartphone users today invariably choose text messaging as their preferred mode of communication.

    This phenomenon has led to the rise of so-called “smartphone zombies,” or people who walk through the world with their gazes fixed squarely on the screen, rather than looking up to experience reality as it truly is.

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    Smartphone_Zombies

      Source: en.wikipedia.org

      Fortunately, as people continue to take notice of the dominant role smartphones and other mobile technologies play in modern life, a growing movement has developed to champion the cause of human interaction.

      Modern Day Solutions

      Families are instituting phone-free zones at the dinner table or living room, while many schools now forbid students from bringing their devices into the classroom. Young children are being encouraged to visit the library and check out paperbound books.

      All of this isn’t to say instant gratification doesn’t still have its place in today’s world, as tech developers are constantly searching for ways to integrate immediacy with genuine experiences.

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      Whereas previous iterations of instant gaming technology would confine players to a stationary position, the new wave of socially oriented games like Pokémon Go are premised on physical activity and interaction with fellow players. The game’s appeal lies in its unpredictability, as you never quite know when a quick drive to the grocery store will turn into a full-fledged hunt for Pokémon.

      Following two decades of full immersion in the internet age, people today find themselves yearning for simple human contact. Luckily, by making a little extra effort we can regain that human touch that might seem to be slipping away. Taking five minutes to enter your local Starbucks and chat with your favorite barista may not be any faster than typing your order into an app, but as many of us continue to discover, it can definitely be more fulfilling.

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      Last Updated on June 19, 2019

      6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

      6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

      I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

      Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

      It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

      1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

      It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

      Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

      When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

      2. Trust the Muse

      Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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      When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

      “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

      The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

      If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

      The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

      Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

      3. Remember to Be Authentic

      Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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      How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

      For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

      One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

      Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

      Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

      4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

      I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

      One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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      Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

      A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

      Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

      5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

      It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

      We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

      If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

      You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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      6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

      As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

      The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

      Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

      Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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