Some of the wisest people in the world will preach that delayed gratification is the key to life. Putting off something that will give you instant satisfaction is not always easy. That’s why this practice takes discipline. Delayed gratification is purposely waiting to cash out on satisfaction at a given moment. Instead, you choose to put off that feeling until sometime in the future. This simple theory has amazing effects on our minds and plays a larger role in our search for happiness in life.
Getting something you want right away is a quick way to not ever be happy with anything. If you had unlimited access to anything you wanted right now, you would never appreciate anything you have. Since there is no cost to anything, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to work for something. Whether that cost is actual currency, or emotion, or time, or effort, not sacrificing anything is how we become spoiled and less appreciative. Let’s say you worked for 10 hours a day for a month, I bet a 5 star meal at the best restaurant in town would taste a lot better than if you had that same meal every day for a week straight with no cost to you. You would get sick of it eventually. This is a tiny example of this concept. But now let’s look at it from a larger perspective.
Let’s say you are a hardworking middle class worker. You work about 80 hours a week and have worked for 20 years. On the other hand, let’s say there was a 25 year old kid who is the son of a billionaire and doesn’t have to work a day in his life. Out of those two scenarios, who do you think is appreciative of a vacation? You, who has worked hard every week of every year for 20 years? Or the spoiled kid who’s whole life is taking time off? The question is not who you would rather be. The question is who would be more appreciative. And the answer is no doubt the middle class worker who has to work for his time off.
This concept is so powerful and touches on a lot of different sensors in our brain that directly contribute to our happiness. It can be used on small scale like holding off on the last piece of cake. Or it can be used on a larger scale by working hard to enjoy it later on instead of coasting through life. No matter what way you use it, it will always reward you. Delayed gratification is perhaps the best tool we have for happiness. It teaches us to be appreciative of ourselves and others. It teaches us to be patient with ourselves and others. It teaches us to have greater self-esteem. And it teaches us to work for what we want. What other concept can you think of has all of these benefits attached to it?
Delayed gratification is one of the best keys to life. Master this concept and you will be all set in life. The world would be a better place if we all practiced this on some capacity. How will you use delayed gratification to give your life a boost?