The Culture of Immediacy

I listened to an interview with Tim Ferris recently as part of the Internet Business Mastery Academy’s “Grill the Guru” series. In the interview, Tim mentioned the culture of immediacy that we live in.

Essentially, there’s this growing expectation that everything ought to happen immediately. If we have to wait 15 seconds for a web page to load, we move on. If someone doesn’t reply to our email within minutes, we wonder if they’re ever going to respond and grumble impatiently.

Unfortunately, this tendency toward impatience (and an increasingly skewed sense of what constitutes a “reasonable” length of time) spills over into our money lives too.

We want things, and we want them 5 minutes ago. Many people realize that this is a problem when it comes to buying things that we can’t afford or overspending, but the culture of immediacy impacts other money-related areas as well.

It can cause us to give up too soon when trying to live on a budget or get out of debt, and it can cause us to buy and sell investments at bad times if we don’t immediately see the results we had hoped for. That’s a shame, because most worthwhile activities take time.

Some of them take a LOT of time, especially compared with no time at all.

So if you find yourself tempted to give up on something you’re trying to achieve in your financial life, stop and ask yourself these questions first:

  • How long did it take other people who have successfully done what I’m trying to do?
  • How similar are those other people to me? (Do they have a similar income, similar expenses, and a similar background? — If you’re a beginning investor, comparing yourself to Warren Buffett after reading just a few investor tips isn’t realistic.)
  • How reasonable are my expectations?

You might find that you’re making more progress than you think. Maybe all you need is some more time and persistence.


  • Oh boy! I got laid off yesterday, Thanks God I had myself on a budget before hand.

    Well noting will be happening in my world that eve remotely resemble immediacy…LOL :)

    A budget is so much more important now than it ever was!!!!!

  • Doh! Sounds like a sign to really kick it in your own business instead then :)

  • Agreed! Our focus on instant gratification/immediacy also diminishes our ability to enjoy the process. We’re always so damned intent on getting to that destination, right effing NOW!, that we forget to enjoy the ride. The ride being, of course, a little thing called life.

  • CF, that’s an excellent point. And enjoying the ride is important!