Sometimes Instant Isn’t So Gratifying

By Spicer Matthews

I am a pretty instant guy. In fact, I go quite batty when something that should be instant is not. Nowadays, thanks to the internet we have instant information and communication. Anything we want to know right now we can discover simply by visiting And we can tell our friends about it right away. But recently I have realized that there is a situation in my life where instant is not good. Where instant is a distraction and a detriment. And so, I turn instant off when reading books.

I used to read books on my iPad. Oftentimes while I was reading, an impulse would pop into my mind. Maybe the author sparked a thought and I wanted to look something up. Or instant message a friend about what I was reading. Or take a quick break to check my email. I always convinced myself it would take just a second, but of course it never did. It was just too easy to close the book and get caught up in something else because I could—instantly.

Though I would eventually return to the book and continue reading, it was often only a few moments before a message notification appeared onscreen and lured me away again. Ultimately, I was unable to truly focus on the book, which is a shame because I believe that the deepest forms of knowledge are often found in books. But you must focus to truly absorb knowledge.

Recently I purchased a Kindle, the cheapest one. All it does is display text on a screen—nothing else. I now read my books on the Kindle instead of my iPad. I go somewhere far away from my devices and dive deep into my Kindle book. The only thing instant is the next page. I feel like I am getting so much more out of my reading adventures now. I feel liberated in a way. If you are anything like me and have developed a Pavlovian response to the persistent instant, I suggest that you too find a way to turn instant off.