(Some) Instant Gratification May Not Be So Bad After All

The other day I saw a mother taking a picture of her small child with her digital camera. What do you think was the first question the child asked after the picture was taken?

“Can I see?”

When I was a kid we had to wait days, if not weeks, to see photos. You had to finish the whole roll of film, take it to the drug store or photo shop, wait until they were developed, and then go back to the store to pick them up.

Now there’s instant gratification. Take a kid’s picture and she gets to see it right away. No waiting. No delay. Results now.

Some would lament the fact that there is no such thing anymore as delayed gratification. I choose to look at it another way. (Some) Instant gratification can spur creativity and enhance ideas. Here’s how:

  1. Instant gratification means opportunity for higher quality. If I don’t like my picture the first time, I can immediately take another one. The same applies to a blog post, a digital film on youtube or vimeo, or a song recorded digitally. Don’t like it the first time? Improve it. …And, in this day and age, you better.
  2. Instant gratification means more output. If I can see results immediately, I have more time to put into “shipping” a quality “product” (See #1 above). More output. Higher quality. Sounds like a win-win to me.
  3. Instant gratification means that I want to do more. When I have to wait for the finished product, my enthusiasm often wanes. But when I see immediate results, I get more and more excited about pursuing my passion and shipping my art.

When a child asks, “Can I see?”, let her see. Then encourage improvement, output, and motivation. Creative kids will thrive on it. Use (some) instant gratification to do the same for yourself. The technology of the digital age can be to your advantage: check out immediate results to create art of higher quality, greater quantity, and motivation to do more.

Where have you seen “instant gratification” work to bring about greater art?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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