A SOCIETY OF INSTANT: Surviving in a tough society by Deborah Siegel

It’s certainly no secret that we live in a society with a need for speed and a taste for intolerance. Most of us still understand that faster doesn’t necessarily mean better, but we’re willing to settle for less in order to enjoy life more right now. For most, the art of wondering and waiting, of imagining and dreaming has been discarded for over-indulgence and quantity consumption. The reward isn’t to have the best, but to have it first. Coming to the market first with a new product or service is what counts; so what if it happens to have some bugs that need to be worked out or simply ignored. In the process of wanting everything instantly, what has happened to our integrity, to the human spirit, to our values and morals?
Only time will tell, if we’re willing to wait. That’s the question now, isn’t it? Are we willing to wait for better, to wait for gratification, to wait in order to build character and self-discipline? Research shows we are at an all-time low when it comes to our ability to wait. A study at UMass Amherst examined over six million people who frequently browse the internet. What these studies showed was the average time people were willing to wait for information on various sites was a staggering two seconds. If web designers couldn’t capture viewers’ attention within the first two seconds, they lost the opportunity.
Time spent in the traditional classroom or at church has now been exchanged for online education and taped sermons listened to when you’re stuck in traffic. Is that really maximizing time or have we lost ourselves in a runaway society? Even something as simple as thinking, meditating, and researching have been reduced to a fleeting thought, a three-minute meditation, and searching the internet for instant information.
Decisions, actions, and values are weighed against the time it takes to achieve success. It’s not far off the mark to say that time is our most precious commodity.
The best thing about time is that it plays no favorites, it is the great equalizer. No matter how instantly we want to have things, and no matter how instantly we expect things to happen, we are all slaves to the same clock. We all have only 24 hours in a day to spend. And, when it is your time to go, you won’t be able to exchange or buy more time—you’ll be gone in an instant. Death will also be instant, but that’s one instant most of us would prefer to postpone.
Our expectations of immediacy are exhausting and have taken their toll on all of us. We may be more efficient but at what cost? How perverse that most of us continue to create an even faster rat race while, at the same time, we nostalgically crave yesterday’s slower lifestyle and calmer existence Perhaps taking a few moments to examine and analyze the cause and results of our need for everything instant will help us to stop and smell the roses. So, take a few moments here to do just that. If you can’t stop, make yourself slow down for a brief time to discover the benefits of waiting, of being patient, of learning perseverance and determination because you were willing to wait.

Author: Deborah Siegel

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