Pauline Reneaux

A Digital Age: Immediate Gratification

Monday, December 3, 2018

In September I was asked to write for the new digital magazine here 318Central. I thought I would share my article with you. Happy reading!!

     Long, long ago, in a faraway time, and what some people may even describe as a very different planet, as the school bells began to ring, parents all over Cenla began to reinforce the “no phone calls after 9 pm” household policy.  Some families shared a party line with multiple families on the same phone line and a rotary phone was the norm.  As phones progressed, each family had one phone line per household and if you were really high tech there was a kids’ phone line and a separate phone line for parents.  College students returning to school would make collect calls home that their parents would not accept, but it let them know we had arrived safely. 

     Long before a fast food supper was the norm and YouTube helped you repair home appliances, the biggest challenge a family faced was getting supper on the table by 6 pm and keeping it warm if anyone was late, because microwave ovens were not even a thought.  Technology has brought the world to our finger tips and allowed us all to view a world outside of Cenla, but a question we must all ask ourselves, what price do we pay for the instant gratification we all know and enjoy?  It would be easy to blame kids or millennials, but the thing is, this want, desire, demand for instant gratification is unfortunately not reserved for the young.  Not a day goes by that I do not have someone from one business or another in our community, all in very different industries, share stories with me about how customers want the product or service that they offer immediately.  Countless articles address the impact technology is having on people’s health.  I read an article last spring in which someone actually set an alarm to get up in the middle of the night to respond to their boss’s emails.  Now of course I know no one in our community would require that of their employees…or do they?  I know no one reading this goes into a business and wants a good or service yesterday.  I know everyone sits down as a family for a home cooked meal each night to talk about their day.  Or do we?  I will include myself in this group, because again, very few are immune to this age of instant gratification.  In Michael Pollen’s book Cooked he addresses the impact that our fast paced, desire for instant gratification has had on the way we cook, which has, in turn had a tremendous impact on our health and the relationships that we have within out families.

     Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World came to Central Louisiana several years ago and his words had a profound impact on all that heard him.  One of the things that he notes in his book is that while technology has advanced tremendously, the quality of work that people produce has actually decreased.  Could it be that if people are trying to respond to emails all hours of the day and night and not receiving adequate rest that their work is not of the same quality that it could be if they were able to actually rest at night.  When you are preparing presentations, designing new products, studying for classes or writing pieces for print what distractions do you find technology brings to the table?  I have a beautiful new iPad Pro that I love, but when I wrote this piece I started with a tablet and paper.  Why?  Because I could get away from the distractions that my phone or tablet often bring and think about the numerous articles I have read and research that I have done and take the time to truly process it all.  So much is put on the cloud both in academia and business, yet study after study shows that students perform better when they take notes by hand.  Study after study shows that creativity in our country has decreased by as much at 84% across all industries.  And while all of this has taken place, while phones and computers have progressed at a rate that we did not see in other industries, our want and need for instant gratification has kept pace with those trends.

     “Good things come to those who wait.”  This is a phrase that many of us grew up with, but the wait, the delay, the work that must be done before we can receive the “good things,” is something that we find harder and harder to do.  When was the last time you asked a question and truly thought about the answer before asking Siri?  When was the last time you stopped to truly enjoy the day to day tasks that you may have to do?  Has your desire for instant gratification had a negative impact on your life?  It may have been a long time since you heard a school bell ring, but I do not think any of us are too old to learn something new.  I think all of us could stand to put a sticky note on our mirror to remind us every now and then that “Good things come to those who wait,” or at the very least save an image as wallpaper on our phones or iPads to remind us.  After all, waiting is one thing, but having to give up our digital devices, well that is another.       

Until next time...


No comments:

Post a Comment

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan