I is for Instant Gratification

        I is for Instant Gratification.  We live in a fast moving, on the go society.  Love it or hate it, that is the way things are.  Hungry?  You've got fast food, can order pizza with several clicks of a button, and many restaurants have apps to order ahead of time.  My personal favorite is the one for Chipotle.  E Coli scare aside, nothing screams, "I'm smarter than you, and my time is more important," like walking to the front of the line during Chipotle peak times of the day.  Truth be told, I felt bad the first few times.  Everyone has access to the app though, and my guilt was quickly outweighed by the agonizing possibility of being stuck behind a large group who asks one hundred questions.  See something you like advertised on TV?  Chances are Amazon has it.  Sign on, click, and boom.  I'm as guilty again as anyone of this.  Clothing, supplements, Christmas presents, and anything in between is getting ordered.  If you are an Amazon customer, I'd encourage you to take advantage of Smile Amazon where Amazon donates a small percentage of every order you place to a charity of your choosing.  Anyway, the many positives of the technological, quick service society we live in certainly comes with it's negatives.  The fact that we can get some things very quickly makes us want everything quickly.  That is a significant issue when it comes to sports and the development of talent.

        Over the last four years or so, I have reached out to many sport psychology professionals.  The overwhelming majority have been extremely helpful and generous with both their time and advice.  Regular readers of the blog have seen me mention a few.  Dr. Rob Seifer, sport psychologist for the Miami Marlins, had a quote in a conversation we had that has stayed with me over the last couple of years and applies to the topic for today.  "It's about short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits."  To me, this is not only very true but helps provide an all-important rationale in resisting the urge to make everything in our lives about instant gratification.  The quote also works in framing what great discipline athletes have who are truly dedicated.  The resistance to feed the "elephant" (Switch readers) of emotion that wants to be pleased right now is powered by a clear vision for the future (path).

        The delaying of instant gratification is a major obstacle in coaching.  Winning now is the instant gratification that sometimes is better delayed for the sake of development of the athletes.  I know as a baseball coach I was often impatient with this concept.  Kids want to be good RIGHT NOW.  As coaches, we want the same.  The challenge often lies in whether we choose what will make kids successful right now at the expense of what will make them as good as possible down the road.  Like so many other topics I write about, I think there were definitely times I was guilty of this.  The idea of winning, particularly as I had a warped idea of success early on, sometimes trumped development.  The concept also has its place in the general topic of sport psychology.  The market is flooded with promises of quick fixes, and people gravitate to these promises.  In reality, to get the true benefits one needs to make a time-consuming commitment.  There may be some quick fixes, but they are like the 3 day cleanse of the the sport psychology world.  You'll feel better for a few days but likely quickly sink back into poor habits.  The greater emphasis and commitment to the mental side is the healthy lifestyle that ensures overall well-being over the long haul.  In conclusion, I invite you to join me in the challenge of taking some time to slow down our lives from time to time.  Consider whether the short-term sacrifices may be worth the long-term benefits in certain areas of your life.  My guess is that in many cases they will be.

I is for Instant Gratification Song of the Day: Kid Ink- I Just Want it All
So do many athletes Kid Ink.  The question is whether we will do what it takes or not.


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