Have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right, everything goes wrong, and you keep getting kicked in the face? I’m not talking about just having a bad day– I’m talking about having one of those days where you just feel like giving up. It’s like, “Why am I working this hard when nothing good ever comes of it?”
Effort doesn’t always equal results. Aimless activity wastes time, and prolonged efforts don’t necessarily create favorable outcomes. We can hit bad days and plateaus while feeling self-doubt. We may feel incapable at these times. We need to realize that instant gratification is not to the road to success. The world surrounds us with the thoughts of instant gratification from being able to order food delivery, over-indulging in food, sleeping late instead of exercising, going out drinking instead of doing school or work, buying a car that is far too expensive for your means, not spending your money instead of saving, and more. Technology itself has made us impatient.
As we adapt to speedy satisfaction, we will only want even speedier satisfaction. Avoiding the instant gratification trap requires delaying gratification, which means better benefits occur later and reinforce the truth that we will live even if we have to wait. But I won’t sugarcoat it. Saying no to immediate gratification is not easy. Think about it – if it was, we would all be fit, healthy, and financially better off.
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to say ‘no’ to things that make you feel good. Treat yourself to rewards after hard work. These rare treats are much more treasured when delayed gratification becomes habitual.
So, the opposite of instant gratification is delayed gratification, which postpones the desire to obtain a better future benefit or reward. Delayed gratification is the wiser choice, but we struggle daily with the temptations for immediate gratification, as wanting good things now is a natural human impulse.
We need to experience the satisfaction and pleasure of achieving when time and effort are part of the equation. Most highly successful people have spent a minimum of a decade mastering their craft – this is true grit. These people have endured despite failures and pursued what they loved, even though some of the processes are not fun and exciting.
To start breaking the habit of instant gratification, take small steps. Start by postponing bits of gratification here and there in your life – wait to open that package, don’t give in to every urge to open and check social media, prepare your meal instead of going to a restaurant or getting fast food, etc. Once these become easy, take on more complex challenges and practice. Ironically, when fighting instant gratification, you won’t be receiving instant gratification.
Recognizing that you need to fight instant gratification is an enormous step and be motivating in itself. Just like working out, it’s tough and pushes you outside your comfort zone. Champion the struggle while finding incremental successes and satisfaction along the way. Delay gratification and working past the ‘easy road’ will lead to long-term gratification and payoff.
Before you can experience delayed gratification, you first have to have a goal. The goal could be a hope, a dream, or an expected outcome. Depending on your age and life objective, your goal could be as simple as asking Brenda to the prom. But some of you may have more significant goals like being the first in your family to graduate from college, becoming a writer, or breaking your family’s cycle of poverty & oppression.
Decide you’re not going to let anything stand in your way— not society, social class, nothing. You are going to determine your future, and that’s your goal. As you age & experience life, you’ll reach some goals. But some goals that you thought were important at the time may change and ultimately fade as your perspective changes.
Regardless, goals are specific to you, and you are the only one that can determine what will leads to your happiness. Life is about joy — our dreams, our goals, our hopes, our future plans. Those intangibles get us up in the morning and keep us working hard. That’s why we don’t just take ‘no’ for an answer.
Now, some people take ‘no’ for an answer when the going gets tough. They stop. Whereas other people prefer to sit back and wait for things to happen instead of making things happen for themselves. If that’s you, you’re going to get out of life exactly what you put into it … and that’s little to nothing.
Guys, I’m here to tell you, DREAM BIG and work for that dream. You can be, do, and accomplish anything that you set your mind out to do. Develop your goals, set expectations, and define a path for obtaining those goals. You cannot sit around and just wait for things to happen. You’re going to be waiting a long time. Only you can set your goals; only you can accomplish them.
You can’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing great was ever accomplished by taking the easy way out. Embrace the suck. People say you can always accomplish anything you set your mind to, and I genuinely believe that. But does it mean that’s going to come easy? No, it doesn’t. You’ll have setbacks, road bumps, and days when you feel like giving up when you’re incredibly disappointed.
The people that succeed are the people that brush it off, pick themselves back up, and don’t dwell & wallow in self-pity. They also don’t feel they deserve something they haven’t done yet. They make things happen. As men in the current world and new age of technology & social media, we need to take responsibility and make things happen.
Just remember that these goals, true joys, and big dreams aren’t achieved through instant gratification. These take work, and the habit of delayed gratification can transform you, your life, and your future. Delayed gratification can change you into a person of principle, character, and achievement. Through practice, it will become increasingly easier, and the benefits will immensely outshine what would have resulted from instant gratification.