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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Things we must teach: Delayed Gratification

Something very destructive is going on in Nigeria. It is a patent lack of appreciation for Delayed Gratification. It is the worship of the God of Instant Gratification.

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By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Sometimes, we don’t say or write certain things because we don’t want to confront the truth. Many times we don’t want to say or write on some issues because we want to be circumspect and avoid being misunderstood. In a society with fast eroding values, silence can be conspiratorial.

I have established it, that a lot of parents no longer train, teach nor set good examples for their children. We are all humans, we are prone to fail and falter, but it is important that we strive to be better.

When I bring these things to the front burner, I am not projecting sainthood, I am only preaching and teaching.

Mobile telephony and information technology has opened up the world. Our children, our youths will be forced to compete globally. They will not have the luxury of living in a national cocoon. If they do not have the requisite values and education, they will live and die in penury. It is that Stark!

Something very destructive is going on in Nigeria. It is a patent lack of appreciation for Delayed Gratification. It is the worship of the God of Instant Gratification.

I know we are hardwired to want things now. It is such a powerful force we must work hard to conquer, because it is often destructive. In Naija’s lexicon, it is called “Sharp Sharp”, “Now, Now”.

What is instant gratification? It is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfilment without delay. I know and understand that having pleasure is central to the survival of our specie. We need to eat, drink and procreate. Therefore, food, water, and sex is central to our existence.

In infancy and early childhood, instant gratification is a tool of survival. Children need to satiate hunger and thirst by wanting it immediately. As we grow older into adulthood, it is an essential life skill to be able to delay gratification through discipline, hard work and denying oneself, to be able to fulfil some responsibilities and achieve set goals.

Rewards are necessary but we should not despair if rewards do not come in good time. I have seen people make friends because they expect a certain reward. Once the reward is not forthcoming in their set time frame, they get obnoxious.

Mature adults should not expect others to meet their needs. At work, do your thing and don’t be sycophantic because you want elevation. Reasonable leaders are discerning enough to know you are in it, for all you can get. That is why they pass you over, to increase your frustration index. Desperation is often etched in the brows of users. Everyone sees it. If you are genuine, it is self-evident.

Do not develop a complicated relationship with pleasure. In a world full of pretence, everyone is on the edge and suspicious of being used and taken for granted. Do not make it worse for yourself by your lack of patience and restraint.

The youths no longer do apprenticeship because they have no patience to learn and serve. They no longer learn because they think it is exhausting. They want it now! It does not work that way. Good things are earned. You pay your dues. No one succeeds in the long run, going through life, avoiding pain. Avoiding pain, not putting effort in work, not nurturing relationships, not developing a wholesome being does not result in accomplished goals. It may be fine in the short term but painful in the end.

There is nothing bad in wanting things, experiencing things, or enjoying products and services in good time. What is important is to have a realistic sense of timing, to be patient and to balance desires without hurting others.

Life is a marathon, be careful how you run it. Life demands careful planning and execution.

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