Playing the Long Game
We live in a world where so many people crave instant gratification. We’re all guilty of it. You only have to look at our reaction to social media posts to see this in practice. We post an update and then sit back and wait for the likes and comments to flood in. When we do, we get a release of happiness hormones and it feels good. But as we know, it doesn’t last. That’s the thing with instant gratification, it is short term, here for a fleeting moment before it fades away.
People can also end up relating their sense of purpose and value directly to the number of followers they have on different social media platforms, or likes they receive on their posts or photographs they have shared. It can end up impacting on mental health and also the health of our real world relationships and behaviour. For young people who have grown up in a world of social media that places different expectations on them to be popular on line, it can be particularly challenging.
Having a world of information at our finger tips has so many benefits. We live in a more inter-connected world than ever before. How can we balance all of the positive advantages this digitally enriched world can offer, whilst also seeking a life of purpose which provides us with long term fulfilment? How do we ensure happiness and satisfaction is more than a short term ‘fix’ but becomes a sustainable way of life?
The things that provide real satisfaction in life invariably require patience, persistence and dedication on our part. This is true for the most important relationships in our lives if we think about it. If we slow down, and find meaning and purpose in our actual personal relationships with others, balanced with our digital relationships, true fulfilment is more likely to follow. It is not realistic for many people to abandon social media altogether, it is such a part of our lives. Our digital relationships are important but should never be a substitute for the real thing.
Perhaps we need to go back to basics and recognise that actually digitisation is really all about people and relationships in the end. Despite all the technological advancements which have benefitted society human beings remain social animals. We crave a sense of belonging, togetherness and purpose. Real, meaningful relationships are an important aspect of this. The foundations for many people’s lives, such as our values, education, family, careers, and creating a home do not come about instantly. They have to be worked at, over a prolonged period of time. We understand that tenacity and perseverance is required, and the journey of discovery itself over a period of time helps us to grow. There are plenty of bumps in the road, sometimes we get lost and we need to find our way again. These experiences are what build our character, and what playing the long game is all about.