Instant Gratification vs Commitment

Have you seen the new Hyundai commercial? Here’s the verbiage (if you want to see the commercial, click here to view it on YouTube): “Instant gratification has us in a stranglehold. So much so that we don’t want to fix things anymore, just replace them. Don’t like you nose? Get a new one. Don’t like your job? Get a new one. Don’t like your spouse? Get a new one What ever happened to commitment? To standing by our decisions?”

The whole thing puts out two separate themes: instant gratification on one hand and commitment on the other. At first, when I heard “…we don’t want to fix things anymore,” I thought about electronics and computer printers and the other things that cost less to buy new than to fix, and because I also know first-hand that Hyundais can break down, I know the message of that part of the commercial was that Hyundai will fix their cars that break down, at least they did in my case several years ago when I drove one. I get that part of the commercial.

What I’m confused about (and need you to help me understand) is the second part of the message. Certainly we aren’t “committed” to our noses, are we? And having surgery to change it isn’t “instant” gratification, is it? Take that one step further. What about gastric bypass surgery? Is that instant gratification?

Is changing jobs or wanting new challenges a sign that we’re not committed?

Welcome to the inside of my head. I’m trying to sort out the difference between a decision and a commitment. I have a love-hate relationship with “commitment.” I really like change. I don’t like things the same for very long. What seems like a good idea one moment leaves me bored or restless the next. Yet there are things and times that are worth sticking around for the long haul – to see them come to fruition and see if they were worth the time and effort, the commitment.

For instance, three years ago I committed to losing weight. Today I’m committed to keeping it off. I didn’t just make a decision. I made a commitment. A commitment takes a plan. A decision is finite. Commitment needs to ebb and flow, doesn’t it? A decision requires another decision in order to change. 

I know I’m being vague, and I don’t intend this blog entry to be a therapy session for Lynn, but I wanted to open a conversation with you about decisions versus commitments and learn, through your emails and/or by leaving a comment, your thoughts on “new noses, new jobs and new spouses,” so to speak. Selfishly, I need some perspective because I’m on the verge of making a pretty big commitment, yet sometimes it feels like just a decision based on instant gratification. I’m in the planning stage, the place where you vacillate and try to see all sides: Do I? Don’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?

So tell me, how do you distinguish between instant gratification and commitment? And how do you personally become and stay committed to something?

Disclaimer: This commitment I’m facing has nothing directly to do with my husband (he’ll be glad to know that) or gastric bypass, a nose job, buying a computer printer or buying a Hyundai, although I would if I could and not because of the commercial.

10 thoughts on “Instant Gratification vs Commitment

  1. I see commitment as my marriage vows or my children – something that once I have agreed to do it I no longer feel there is an option to change that decision because it affects more than just me.
    My take of the commercial is that they are pointing out that our society now responds instantly to our emotions. I feel ugly today so I can instantly go out and get a new nose where if I had waited until tomorrow my feeling may have grown to my nose has character.

  2. I have a pretty strong opinion about gastric bypass in that I’m completely against it. I’m not knocking anybody who’s had it, but I do really resent the medical community for being so gung-ho about it. That being said, my best friend from high school had it and she looks amazing. However, her eating habits haven’t changed. That’s where my problem stems from. So yes, I see gastric bypass as instant gratification. You have surgery and have your stomach cut down to an abnormal size. You don’t learn healthy eating habits. You don’t learn to exercise. And yet the pounds come off. You don’t really have to work at it because your stomach is so small you can’t eat a lot or your body rejects it.
    I’m a fan of commitment. Commit yourself to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise. Eat right. Work hard. The pounds will come off and you’ll feel better. You’ll have more energy.
    I seem to have gone off on a mini-tangent. Like I said, I have some strong opinions on the subject. But the opinions are mine. Not right. Not wrong. Just mine.

  3. A decision to me would be to start eating healthy and exercising, while a commitment is sticking to that decision. Too often I have made the decision to lose weight but I wasn’t committed to making the changes. A decision is a yes or no, a go or stay or a keep or give. But a commitment is the plan to follow the decision.
    Again, my thoughts.

  4. I tried to post and then it disappeared, so if it turns up twice, sorry. Anyway, I think making a decision is the first step in making a commitment. First you decide. Then you commit. Once you’re committed, you are with a decision long enough to see long term results and those help you figure things out. You look at the results you’ve achieved so far, what your original goals were, and what has happened along the way, where you ended up. You consider carefully the other people who would be affected by a decision to change course… Sometimes it’s a matter of how to keep what’s good at the same time tweaking what needs to change or be revamped to get better results or just to inject some energy into the works. Some commitments do run their course and come to a natural end. Other ones just aren’t healthy at some point. Other ones are too important to ever give up. I too have commitments I’m… well… committed to. And yet I wonder about what changes could or should be made? How? I hate to mess with what’s working, but never taking any risks is dumb in its own way too. Complicated stuff, Girl. love, V

  5. I think it is about balance. Most good people are committed to their spouses and families. We all know a few rotten apples. But why stay in a job that you hate if you have a chance to go to one that might make you happy? My husband and I defrosted a 10 year old freezer this past weekend that will be cheaper to replace than the cost of having someone come and repair it if need be. But years ago when I wanted a new record album, I would save my babysitting money for a month and then made a trip with friends to the store and get it . Now we have spoiled our kids (me included) and they don’t want to wait for anything. WE live a fast society, fast food, drive through everything. I hope I have made sense

  6. For me, a commitment is almost like a contract with myself. I might make the decision to change jobs, and that decision might be based on the instant gratification of more money, better hours, etc.; but once the decision has been made, I’ve made a commitment to do my best and give it a fair shot. Decisions can be emotion driven, while a commitment is something deeper, something you take the time to consider the path and the obstacles, and yet, you are willing to go for it. Instant gratification is so soothing in this fast paced world, but many decision can come with regrets. I think commitment means less regrets because you’re working towards a goal. I’ve certainly regretted decisions I’ve made, but I’ve never regretted seeing something through to a positive outcome. So, I guess for me, the difference would be hard work – how hard am I willing to work towards what I want?

  7. is this good for you? if it is then go ahead and if it is not say no
    i learned this from a book “the art of selfishness” by david seabury
    a decision and a commitment in my own words
    my daughters best friend made a decision to have sex with her boyfriend…having sex was a decision…she is now pregnant…she is 17 and is having the baby…becoming a mother is a commitment…this is good for her

  8. One of my sayings, if I may quote myself, is that divorce taught me I’m capable of making promises I cannot keep. I’m leery of commitment because I’m leery of making any more promises of that sort. My own focus on commitment tends to be very much about the here-and-now, and about committing to honesty and to authenticity. I just had my first post-divorce relationship, and we talked a lot about what commitment means in dating, since dating is specifically not the commitments of marriage. And we agreed that mainly what was important about dating was the commitment to honesty and authenticity.

  9. It all depends on what the situation is; when it comes to having people involved then committment stands out for me; of course, if you have a dysfunctional relationship and you’ve tried therapy and working it out and nothing has changed, then it’s time to move on. You cannot stay complacent in relationships. I know someone that was married over 20 years and went through 8 to 9 counselors and they ended up divorced after all. They tried and they stayed committed until they knew that it’s time to move on. Making a committment shouldn’t be taken so lightly; that’s integrity when you say you’ll do something and you should stick to what you say. Action speaks louder than words. As far as making decisions with things in our lives then we may want to do something and it seems like a great idea in the moment but after careful thought you think it’s not that great of an idea any longer and then I feel as if it’s okay to change our minds. That’s the beauty of life, we have free will and we can change our minds. It’s called being flexible. In years past people stay in their jobs for years and years and were loyal to their employers. Now we are in a generation of change. If you have a job that you love go for it stay in it. But there are too many people that hate their work and should be out of there. Nothing wrong with that.

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