The Era of Instant Gratification
Dr. Robert Kornfeld
Chronic Foot Pain Center
369 Lexington Ave. 8th Floor
New York, NY 10017
There’s been a major shift in society over the past 20 or so years and it is wreaking havoc on self-esteem and the health of the public. Years ago, when I was small (I am a baby boomer), I was told that I would have to work hard to be successful. That meant study hard, get good grades, go to college, get a degree, become something special and then you will earn a good living. It meant that we were in for years of hard work with our nose to the grindstone. That “work ethic” was instilled in our generation from very early on in life. But it didn’t stop there. If you wanted to have successful relationships with friends, you also had to work at it. You had to ring their doorbell and ask them to come out to play or call their house and (HEAVEN FORBID) speak to their mother first and then speak to your friend. When you became interested in the opposite sex, you had work to do. You had to establish a rapport. You had to attract each other physically as well as with your communication and it had to be done face to face (except for the rare “blind” date).
We grew up. We got jobs. We got married. We had children. And we told them they could accomplish anything they wanted to! But enter computer technology. The millennials grew up communicating on computers and cell phones. The greater majority of their relationships are casual on-line relationships fostered by social media. Relationships are just a click away. And on-line, you can be anybody you wish to be. Your on-line persona can be invented. They did not have to ring a doorbell or speak their friend’s mother. They just texted and waited for a reply. When it didn’t come quick enough, they just texted someone else. As internet speed increased, so did the expectation that everything should come quickly.
Expecting everything to come quickly has major ramifications. Hard work becomes intolerable. There are too many “fun” distractions. When I was a teen, if I was in my room doing schoolwork, that’s all I would do. Millennials (and younger) faced the challenge of trying to study while receiving texts, checking their emails, looking for “likes” on social media and making sure they weren’t being left out of the fun (a real condition now known as FOBLO – fear of being left out). After college graduation, these young people did not want to “lower” themselves to take any job, they held out for the best…and held out and held out and held out. And for many, years have passed and they are still not where they wish to be because they expected to get there without the commitment to hard work. They expected to start at the top. Blame? All the aforementioned issues AND baby boomer parents who have spoiled and entitled their kids and unwittingly destroyed their self-esteem. Self-esteem comes from many things, but without accomplishment, it does not exist.
Many millennials are disabled by low self-esteem. Many are content to sit around blaming their parents, politicians, the rich, the poor, etc. They are disenfranchised. And because working at things is foreign to their experience and paradigm, they are loathe to work at their health by maintaining healthy diets and exercise. So, we are seeing more pathology in younger and younger people as the years go by. This is not good.
So, what is the answer to this? These young people need to get a better grasp on what it takes to succeed in this world. I’m speaking to you millennials now. There is nothing wrong with starting at the bottom as long as your long-range goal is to strive for the top. That means keep your eye on the goal. Create a path to get there. If it isn’t working, still keep your eye on the goal but change the path. Stop blaming. Take responsibility. You’re adults now. All parents make mistakes. We create issues for our children, just like my parents did. But nothing changes unless you take charge of your life. Your successful future is not going to text you or meet you on social media. You must find it. WORK HARD!!! Be committed. Be strong. You will build self-esteem over time. You will find your way to your goal in time. No more internal negative talk. Do not continue to convince yourself that you’re a failure or that others have it easier than you. Your chosen path of entitlement has not worked. Now choose another path. You can accomplish anything you want. But no one can accomplish it for you.
Take better care of your health. Choose a healthy diet. Exercise. Be proactive in every aspect of your life. Build your life. The best homes are built with high quality materials. Make a high-quality effort. Give it time. Let it percolate. Lose your expectation of instant gratification. YOU WILL SUCCEED!!!