Learning to delay gratification promotes impulse control
Being able to delay gratification is an essential life skill which helps promote impulse control whilst strengthening your physical, emotional and social well-being.
By practicing delayed gratification, you can train your body and mind to hold out on immediate satisfactions for a stronger, multiplied effect.
Putting it simply, by learning delayed gratification you can transform every area of your life. From your body and mind, to your work life, marriage and even how much money you earn.
Stanford marshmallow experiment for delayed gratification
The well renowned Stanford Marshmallow test, conducted in 1972 by psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University, was the perfect barometer for measuring the link between an individual’s ability to delay their gratification, and their success later in life.
“Eat the marshmallow now, or wait 20 minutes and you’ll receive another.”
Interestingly, once the researchers followed the progress of each child into adolescence, they found out that those who were able to delay personal gratification were more adjusted to making sound financial, social and personal decisions that could impact their lives to a great degree.
Instant Gratification Promotes A Vicious Cycle
Another example that works perfectly is the idea of saving money for big purchases.
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, I feel that most people own credit cards because they cannot inhibit their impulse to spend money on shiny objects.
I do understand the benefits some credit cards provide, such as improving your credit rating, having access to funds for emergencies and to activate cashback on your shopping etc.
It’s up to the individual to use their credit cards how they see fit.
However, many people who are in debt today have numerous credit cards and have become so used to spending money that not only isn’t theirs, but also on items they know they can’t afford.
It is a vicious cycle.
Instead of spending money on an item that you want, why not wait for the price to drop later and not have to worry about borrowing money to see you through the month?
Especially if the item is not a necessity.
Get better at delayed gratification by starting small
Don’t try to change every area of your life through stringent will power.
Why not focus on the areas that are causing you the most pain and unhappiness?
As you get better at delaying gratification, you will notice that it requires less will power to resist greater temptations.
For example, staying up late to binge watch 4 episodes of Suits that would in turn, cause you to be late for a key work-related meeting the following morning.
Your physical health will deteriorate (lack of sleep).
And so will your career.
As you’ll miss out on information which could bag you a promotion.
You could easily fix this problem by gradually reducing the time that you spend watching those programmes and going to bed earlier.
In this scenario, learning to delay gratification promotes resilience and will power against unhealthy habits.
This in turn, causes you to attend your meetings alert and fully engaged, whilst improving your physical health (sufficient sleep).
Better yet when you come home, you can rewarded yourself with 8 episodes of your favourite programme.
That is the power of delayed gratification.
The knack for learning delayed gratification comes from your ability to prioritise your life with the time available to you.
Delayed gratification promotes healthier habits and improves will power
Every time you reach a checkpoint towards your final goal, reward yourself.
Use it as an incentive for doing productive work, or simply for doing something a little bit better.
Delayed gratification is a life skill required for life long success and happiness.
I count it as one of the forces in the universe that are within your control that you must harness, in order to achieve a balanced life.