The power of delayed gratification

*I wrote this article 5 years ago and I made some changes to be more in tune with 2019.

We are living in a microwave society. It has become an instant world. Thanks to the power of social media we have been told time and time again we can have it now. When we look at this from a success standpoint, the skies start to get cloudy. The real question becomes how long do you have to wait until you get the reward for your efforts and desires.

I love the Mark Twain quotation “People are spending money they have not earned yet to impress people they don’t like.” Don’t think for one minute that I am a master of this theory. I struggle with this like many of you. At my age the need to impress others has diminished. Yes, we all have an ego to fuel however I suggest there are many ways to quench that thirst. My accountant gave me some sage advise years ago. Why don’t you put your credit card in a dish of water and freeze it! When you want to use it take it out of the freezer and wait for the ice to melt. If you still want it bad enough after the ice melts go ahead.

Studies have shown that people who are able to delay gratification have higher intelligence. This makes sense as people with higher intelligence are often better educated. These people understand the importance of the passage of time. Yes, this is a tough theory to digest for the living life in the moment crowd. One glaring example of instant gratification is the high turnover of jobs. Intelligent people are switching companies to earn more money at the drop of the hat. This activity often results with less than the expected outcome.

Here are some things to think about to curb the “I want it now” syndrome.

  • Set a target or goal you must first obtain before you purchase a vacation or new vehicle.
  • Study the landscape of opportunity in your current company of employment before you jump ship. There is a reward for patience especially if you are a consistent performer.
  • Create a Vision Board that not only has material things you want on it, but also copies of credit card statements that show a zero balance.
  • Delay making decisions until you have thoroughly thought them through.
  • Be cognitive of the consequences from making snap decisions that have lasting effects.

Business owner or employee the same tactics apply. I believe that the longer you can delay the gratification the bigger the reward. This does not mean that you have to live life with a seat belt on. The best outcomes most always follow careful consideration. Success is often dependent on your tolerance for delayed gratification.