On my bike ride today, while mostly on side streets with views of trees and charming houses whizzing by, I still managed to take in a few taglines on advertisements that act as perfect content for the topic of instant gratification and its direct conflict with real growth.
“Don’t wait for payday. Get cash now” “She lost 50 lbs. in 3 ½ weeks.” “Because life doesn’t wait for a cold.”
With all of the promises for instant change and happiness, appealing to our desperate selves, it seems that a realistic claim about change is just not going to get our attention. I mean how inspiring and compelling is this:
Get the career of your dreams! In only ten short years of training, practice, fumbling, succeeding, failing, acquiring wisdom, changing direction, feeling pain and building your confidence, competency and reputation.
While it doesn’t pack the punch that “Five weeks to a six figure salary” does, realistically that’s how change works. It’s about time we deal with reality. Have you ever grown a carrot? A carrot grows as fast as a carrot grows. Ever grown a baby? Nine months people. You’re not going to see an ad that says “get a full term, healthy baby in 3 ½ months!” Because that’s not the natural order of things. But we keep thinking we can shortcut, rush through or bypass what it actually takes to transform.
Sustained change takes time and work. Quick fixes are just that…quick. Comes quickly and goes quickly. Have you ever lost 10 pounds in a week? Chances are those pounds were found again in just as short a period of time.
We live in a culture where we’re inundated with promises for instant relief, instant transformation. We need to start being honest about what it actually takes to take care of ourselves, each other and create the change we want. “Because life doesn’t stop for a cold.” Really? An honest and appropriate tagline for dealing with illness might look more like “Rest. Your body is begging for it.”
You want a fulfilling career? Deep connected relationships? Strong and healthy body? Peace of mind? If you want a different lifestyle or pace than the one you’ve got, an education, supportive community, depth, awakening, transformation…
Then do the work.
How long will it take?
The rest of your life.