In the United States, obesity is a huge health challenge. According to a new report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010″ adult obesity rates increased in 28 states in the past year. It seems that as a culture we have chosen short lived instant gratification over long term health. The problem is not limited to our waistlines but has become a mindset that invades all aspects of our lives.
In this country we have narrowed our field of vision to today. We do what makes us feel good or that which is convenient in the moment. We buy now and pay later with our health, wallets and business practices. Unfortunately, we have passed these traits onto our children. Does it scare anyone else that cholesterol drugs are now being made in chewables for children or that more than 15% of high schoolers are obese?
To make decisions that would result in a better long term outcome requires changing your mindset about the short term, and a willingness to endure some discomfort as you make the shift. We view saying “no” to the things we want today as a sacrifice, and we complain that it is uncomfortable and hard. To truly change we must come to a level of understanding that we are not sacrificing but making a choice. If you choose to continue to routinely eat food laden with sugar, salt and fat you have chosen obesity, and a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. If you choose to buy things you cannot afford on credit you are choosing debt over financial freedom. You can choose business practices that deliver quick bursts of one time sales or customers but you will be sacrificing building a solid base.
This mindset has so pervaded our culture that it seems normal. Corporations choose short term profit over long term safety. Mines collapse, oil spills occur because the future was ransomed for the quick immediate hit. Television networks opt for “reality” shows because they’re cheap and easy as opposed to hiring writers to create quality content and devoting time to building an audience. You cannot even escape this mindset on social media, where users opt for spray and say spam messages rather than doing the work of finding people who need what they have to offer.
I don’t know about you but I’m in this for the long haul. I’d rather pass up unhealthy or questionable habits in life and business for a higher quality and longer length of days. In the short term, that means making choices about what really matters but in the long term I plan to still be here. How about you?
Karen Swim says
Hi Alina, you nailed it when you said “we take the easy way out.” The only problem is that it is easy for the moment but more complex in the future. Junk food and sitting on the couch can result in a lot more work in the future than doing the work today.
Alina Popescu says
Hi Karen, great topic indeed! You are right, we act on the spur of the moment when it comes to our lifestyle, how we do business, and much more. There are entire states that do whatever to ensure some fast cashflow when they need it but fail to have a long term strategy and get deeper and deeper into the mess they have created. Corporations and SMBs do the same and a lot of times never plan further than what’s working now. As for our lifestyles… we take the easy way out – junk food, no sports at all, because it requires less work and less worrying.
Hi Wendi, lol, you have given me the best compliment in the world! I hear you loud and clear and I could not agree more. Decades ago, we were not overweight, and debt laden. Not without surprise, we also took responsibility for those in our community. We knew how to wait for things, we worked hard, we saved, we put in the effort. We let our kids cry when they didn’t get their way preferring to teach than to silence. Today, we have much more stuff and tons of time saving devices, yet we have less of everything. I share those prayers for an awakening because we have the power to cause a dramatic shift, a shift that cannot be delivered by the government.
Wendi Kelly says
Forgive me if I chuckle just a little, but if I were to send this article to my two adult kids they would both roll their eyes and call this “Mom’s lecture on Instant Gratification vs Delayed Gratification” Certainly not word for word, but the message is the one I have been beating the drum on for over 25 years now and yes, it is becoming alarmingly worse. Funny, now my adult kids are beating the same drum to their kids and employees, and I thank God…if they heard ONE thing that I tried to teach them, this one thing will ensure they survive this economy just fine.
My prayer is that everyone hears you loud and clear on this. In a nutshell…this is, and has been the framework of destruction for America for a long time and if we don’t turn it round…there is no telling how fare we can sink.
However, the opposite is equally as true. IF…we can get this one habit collectively turned around in our country, this one paradigm shift to change to delayed gratification for the truly important goals, we can reclaim this great nation much easier than anyone would possibly believe could be true.
Hi Brad, it is a huge topic and one that I increasingly feel a burden around. It is heartbreaking to watch this happen when you know that if we change our choices we can change our lives and the lives of those around us. We would not need government intervention if we not only owned our responsibility to ourselves but to our brother. Instead, we would rather yell and scream at the big bad machine than to simply create our own change.
Hi Heather and thank you! I completely agree with your point about responsibility. When we think of things as a sacrifice we cast ourselves as a victim and do not own the responsibility. When we hold ourselves accountable, sacrifices become choices and we own them completely. I love that you brought this out with that brilliant mind of yours!
Brad Shorr says
Hi Karen, This is a huge topic and how we respond as individuals and a society will determine our fate. At times I shudder to think what kind of a world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren, especially when I contemplate the incredible debt we’re amassing in this bizarre attempt to solve our economic problems by heaving mountains of money at them. I think our recent political choices and public policies are a reflection of the abnegation of personal responsibility you’re talking about here.
Heather Villa says
Excellent post! I get so tired of the instant gratification mentality. Our society promotes it in all areas of media. What happened to the mentality of hard work and effort to get the desired results?
Everything in life is a choice. I feel that the big problem is that people want to make their own choices but then when the result is ‘bad’ – like “obesity, and a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses” – then we, as a society, want to blame someone else, like the fast food restaurant we ate at 3 times a day for a year.
If people were required to take responsibilities for their own actions, I believe better choices would be made.