“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
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We live in a society where withholding gratification is no longer seen as something worth doing. Instead we chip away at our ability to withstand challenge by succumbing to the idea that we should be happy and free of stress all of the time.
You can see self-gratification play out on our roads where people decide that passing on the shoulder is acceptable. We live in a time where our video game mentality is played out in real life. We strive to get more and more dopamine (the feel good hormone) released into our brain.
Let’s say you want something, something nice, how long will you wait until you have it? For most people the anticipation of waiting creates a strong desire to have it now. It might be that we are driven by primitive urges to satisfy our cravings quickly before the opportunity has been lost. We are still thinking that we are going to be chased by a large cat and if we don’t take care of our urges now we won’t be able to ever. How true is that?
Sale, 50% off, today only! It’s cool, it’s hot, and you have to have it NOW! These are tricks that your brain plays on you to get you to do things that you don’t really need to do. The promise of a reward is powerfully alluring and marketers know precisely which buttons to push to get you to act on desire rather than need. The message is if you have this thing today you’ll be happier, you’ll be satisfied, and you’ll gratified.
Test yourself and see what your resistance is to waiting for something you desire. What are the tricks being used to cause you to make a decision to trigger a release of dopamine?
Black Friday, shopping early and even earlier is a big rush for many people, the thrill is in the purchase and ultimately a dopamine rush. If our tasks and our work doesn’t fill us with dopamine we wait, we wait and wait and wait until we don’t have a choice and then it gets done.
What are your “feel good” things you do? What do you notice about them? What is your level of resistance to withhold self-gratification?
To learn more about the brain and the production of dopamine look at this video.