Have you ever found yourself wanting to start on a task, only to end up binge-watching or surfing on your Instagram for hours?
Each year we sit down, make a decent list of new year’s resolutions, but halfway through we find ourselves distracted from meeting long-term goals by short-term activ
Researchers found that whenever a person is about to balance near-term reward with long-term goals, two areas (Emotional and Logical|) of the brain appear to compete over the control of behavior.
According to the research from Princeton University, impulsive choices happen when the emotional part of our brains triumphs over the logical one.
First, let’s feel comfortable with the concept.
Instant (or immediate) gratification is a term that refers to the emotional reaction to experience pleasure without delay, in order to obtain a less rewarding, but more immediate benefit.
On the other hand, delayed gratification, or deferred gratification is a decision to resist the temptation of satisfying your instant desire in the hope of gaining an even better, long-lasting reward or benefit in the future.
The definitions sound like we already know it all by heart. The question is why do we still keep falling prey to our immediate desires, although deep inside we know none of them to satisfy our ultimate goals?
In the following Ted Talk speech, Tim Urban explains the process of extreme procrastination.
As he mentioned in his insightful speech, thanks to the Panic Monster, we eventually manage to keep the Monkey on the tree for those short-term, deadline-based kinds of goals. The Monkey is a funny representative of that mentioned area of the brain which has no memory of the past, no knowledge of the future, and only cares about two things: easy and fun.
But when it comes to the less visible long-term goals that no longer need Panic Monster’s reaction, procrastination turns out to be more destructive, resulting in a huge amount of long-term unhappiness. Goals that fail at fulfilling them do not necessarily bring any public embarrassment or directly harm one’s social image.
We surrender to instant gratification because we basically don’t think the negative consequences of not doing what we should do are severe enough. That’s why Urban warns, “We need to think about what we’re really procrastinating on because everyone is procrastinating on something in life,”
Joachim de Posada, in his short TED talk, refers to the famous study on delayed gratification, Stanford Marshmallow Studies, and its follow-up discoveries. During his speech, he said: “The most important principle for success is the ability to delay gratification”.
Some believe there were noticeable flaws in this discovery,. Still we all agree that delayed gratification is an investment in building something great.
If you are interested to find out about practical and effective solutions to manage this conflict, read the next part here:
We invite you to watch a playlist of the best Ted Talks About Procrastination:
Written and Published by: Shirin Kalantar
Edited by: Asal Ghamari