Every day we are faced with two options:
We can choose either to have a hard life now and an easier one in the future or have an easy life today and, as a result, have to struggle more in the long run.
I am a great believer that our society is designed to lead us to take the second choice, to opt for instant gratification.
Nowadays we can access everything we want very easily.
We have the world at our fingertips.
More and more people spend their leisure time scrolling pages on social media and watching TV series, eating junk food, instead of investing their time in their personal development.
Laziness is skyrocketing as well as the tendency to procrastinate.
Most people opt for entertainment activities that don’t entail active involvement, and they rule out the activities that request an active role, e.g. reading books, writing diaries, cooking, exercising, etc.
But, where can these habits lead us?
They can only lead us to experience a tougher life later on.
That’s because when we are used to an easy life we do not develop the resilience needed to overcome the challenges that we are going to face.
Life is going to hit us sooner or later and we will have to cope with it.
That’s why it is really important to start working hard now, to develop our willpower and self-control to say NO to instant gratification.
Delayed gratification means putting in the work now knowing that we are not going to see the fruits of our efforts for months and maybe years.
After all, when you sow seeds, they are not going to grow instantly into a tree.
It takes time!
You have to water and take care of the seeds and the soil every day and give them sunlight in order to enjoy the fruits in the future.
And the same exact process applies to your life.
If you are committed now to saying NO to instant gratification and working your ass off, eventually you will enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Let’s look at two examples of instant gratification VS delayed gratification:
1) It’s hard to eat healthy food, and say NO to sweets, alcohol, fried chips, etc, as you might love them and they provide immediate pleasure. Don’t they?
But what about becoming obese, diabetic and all the negative implications that you might experience because you have eaten junk food most of the time.
Isn’t it harder to cope with the above diseases than to choose healthy food?
Saying NO to junk food and eating healthily is a hard choice to make.
But it will most likely allow you to have an easier life later, without health issues.
Saying YES to the junk food you love is much easier.
But you will almost certainly end up having repercussions later on.
2) It’s hard to work overtime, save money, invest in yourself, and say NO to watching television, shopping sprees, etc.
But what about becoming broke?
Isn’t it harder to have no money at your disposal than to start saving and investing it in order to reach financial freedom?
Saying NO to squandering money and YES to doing overtime is a hard choice to make.
But it will most likely spare you from ending in dire straits later in life.
Saying YES to watching TV series and to shopping sprees is much easier.
But you will almost certainly end up having financial troubles later on.
As you can see in the above examples you always have 2 choices and both present difficulties.
It’s not easy to say NO now to something you love, but I really believe that it’s harder to cope with the negative repercussions caused by the choices based on immediate pleasure.
What’s more, the choices based on instant gratification will not impact negatively on you only, but also on the life of your loved ones.
You should definitely force yourself to do what you don’t like doing today in order to ease your life in the future and impact positively the life of the people close to you.
Every habit takes time and consistency to be formed, likewise, it will take you time to develop the willpower necessary to say NO to instant gratification.
So let me ask you, are you going to choose HARD LIFE NOW or HARD LIFE LATER?
I can assure you that if like most people you are going to choose the easier path NOW, i.e. INSTANT GRATIFICATION, you are going to regret this choice when you are older.
Just picture what your life, relationships, health, financial standing will be like in 10, 20, 30 years down the road if you always opt for immediate pleasure.
Delayed gratification is harder to choose because it implies your commitment to doing something that doesn’t bring tangible results straight away.
But in the long run, be assured that it will pay off.
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, nor will your new life.
Just look at your current situation!
All the decisions you have taken so far have got you where you are right now, no matter whether your present situation is what you want or not.
What’s interesting is that you have the power to change what your life will be like in the future by changing your daily chores.
By becoming aware that your dissatisfaction originates from all the past decisions you took over and over, you can start making different choices today in order to live a better existence later.
Your life depends on your choices, so make sure you choose the HARD path now to be led to the EASY one later.
THE MARSHMALLOW EXPERIMENT PROVES THE POWER OF DELAYED GRATIFICATION
In the 1970s a series of psychological tests about delayed gratification were conducted by Professor Walter Mischel at Stanford University.
This experiment turned out to show the correlation between delayed gratification and success in life.
It has become a powerful predictor of future performance.
Children were given 2 options: either having a marshmallow now or 2 marshmallows later.
The kids who underwent the experiment were followed over the next 40 years and assessed on a range of factors every decade.
The kids who chose the first option were the ones who looked for shortcuts in life, for the easier way to get things done, and who ended up having troubles.
On the other hand, the children who resisted the temptation of the immediate reward were the ones who became successful, with higher income, higher social status, better relationships, etc.
It all boils down to developing self-control in order to not be tempted by instant gratification and, in so doing creating a better future.
Like a muscle, willpower and instant gratification can be trained!
Start building your self-control and willpower today, take one step each day, and lay the foundations of your future success.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” – Brian Tracy