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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 February 18, 2019

      Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

      Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

      The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

      If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

      The Need for Change

      Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

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      We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

      Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

      This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

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      Happy_old_man

        Signs It’s Time to Redefine

        “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

        So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

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        In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

        “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

        The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

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        When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

        Aronld in Predator

          Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

          And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

          Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

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