Our tendency to choose immediate gratification over long-term fulfillment is called the “suck hole.”
Essentially, it’s the idea that we are often more focused on taking care of our basic needs and wants in the present moment rather than considering the bigger picture and working towards more meaningful goals.
This tendency can affect our personal productivity, as it can lead us to make choices that are not in our best long-term interest.
The battle between Goals and Desires
There is an invisible battle that is happening in all of us. You might have experienced it in the past.
You set a goal. Then make an effort to achieve the goal. And later discover that the goal wasn’t reached.
There are different reasons why goals are not achieved.
The battle between our Goals and our Desires is often the biggest reason we don’t reach our goals.
Goals are results that we dream of achieving in the longer term (a few weeks, a few months, or a few years).
Desires are experiences we want right now (this minute, this hour, this day).
Often times our Goals and Desires are not aligned.
And when Goals and Desires are not aligned – then the rule is that Desires always win.
A classic example: John (who is a friend of a friend you might know) sets a health goal to get in better shape, gain muscle and loose weight. Yet in late evenings John has a desire to eat sweets while watching a Netflix show. It’s clear to him that his evening desires will prevent him from reaching his health goal.
Will John stick to his health goal, or submit to his desire to eat late in the evenings?
The answer is often simple.
If John doesn’t align his goal with his desire, then his evening desires will continue and he will not reach his health goal.
The suck hole is the opposite of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”.
“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” suggests that human beings have a hierarchy of needs that must be met in order to achieve self-actualization (the highest level of personal growth and fulfillment).
These needs are arranged in a pyramid, with the most basic physiological needs at the bottom and more advanced needs at the top. According to Maslow, as we satisfy each level of needs, we become motivated to move on to the next level.
The “suck hole” concept could be seen as the opposite of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in that it represents the tendency to prioritize immediate gratification over long-term growth and fulfillment.
This can lead us to get stuck at lower levels of the pyramid and not make progress towards the higher levels of self-actualization.
“The suck hole” happens to everyone.
“The suck hole” happens automatically when we are faced with challenges in life.
For example – when we need to deal with something difficult (project, decision or situation), we can get pulled into the suck hole.
It helps to create an awareness of the “suck hole” – so you can recognize when you start falling into the suck hole.
How to get out of the suck hole?
To get out of the “suck hole” (i.e., the tendency to prioritize immediate gratification over long-term growth and fulfillment), there are a few things you can try:
- Review your goals:
- Having a clear sense of what you want to achieve can help to give you direction and motivation.
- Take some time to review your long-term goals and what steps you need to take to achieve them.
- Create a plan:
- Once you have your goals in mind, create a plan for how you will work towards them.
- This might involve breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks and creating a schedule for tackling them.
- Stay motivated:
- Finding ways to stay motivated and focused on your goals can be challenging, but it’s an important part of getting out of the “suck hole.”
- Consider setting rewards for yourself as you make progress, finding a supportive accountability partner, or using productivity tools or techniques to help you stay on track.
- Seek support:
- Sometimes it can be helpful to seek support from others in order to stay motivated and on track.
- Consider finding a coach or mentor, joining a productivity group, or enlisting the help of a friend or family member to help keep you accountable.
- Practice mindfulness:
- Being mindful of your thoughts and actions can help you to stay focused on your goals and avoid getting sidetracked by immediate gratification.
- Try to be present in the moment and pay attention to what is truly important to you.
By following these steps, you can work towards getting out of the “suck hole” and achieving your long-term goals.