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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 October 5, 2020

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.

      Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

      Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!

      1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

      Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.

      What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.

      Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.

      2. Go Play With Kids

      Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!

      Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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      3. Play Cell Phone Roulette

      You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.

      You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.

      4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

      This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?

      Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.

      Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.

      5. Sign up for a Class

      Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.

      Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.

      What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!

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      6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives

      We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.

      7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

      Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.

      8. Do Something for Someone Else

      Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.

      For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below[1].

      Do random acts of kindness to avoid living a boring life.

        9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

        If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.

        It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.

        If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

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        10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

        This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation[2]. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.

        Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!

        11. Go People Watching

        Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe[3].

        People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.

        12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

        You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.

        If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!

        13. Dance

        You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

        If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.

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        14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

        Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.

        Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

        15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About

        Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.

        16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to

        Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!

        17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

        This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

        Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.

        Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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        Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] FECAVA: Random Acts of Kindness
        [2] Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
        [3] Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching

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