Delaying Gratification & Why It Makes You a Better Person
The more “civilized” and “progressive” any society gets, the more quickly the people in that society can access things they want. Looking back over history, as cultures became more civilized, they accrued more assets, more wealth and more options in their daily lives. The same is true in the United States today. Fifty years ago if you wanted your dinner hot you had to light the stove and cook your food. Today you can pull through a drive through, heat up a pretty darn tasty microwave meal or heat-up some kind of pre-made food option that requires only a couple of ingredients and some heat to be complete. This is true is all areas of our lives. If we want to get somewhere we just drive one of our cars, hop on the train, use an app to get an Uber or text a friend who lives nearby. Not that long ago I can remember having to go into a business to use their phone to call people to come pick me up then sit there waiting for hours until they could come get me. The world is always changing and as a society gains prominence and wealth, things are easier to access. This article discusses a few reasons why this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
How postponing gratification makes you a better person:
1. It will save you money
Uncontrolled spending is something that causes our lives unbelievable stress. I’ve been there! Not only does the need for immediate gratification cause us to “over-consume” but it also causes us to carelessly spend time, resources and money on thing we don’t really value. Think about the last time you bought something. Did you really need it? Did you really even want it? Did you buy it to give others a reason to like you or to draw attention to yourself? I’ve found that most of us, myself included, get used to acquiring things we come across so quickly that we don’t even have time to consider whether or not we really want them. With online shopping and credit card payment, it is easy to drown ourselves in financial debt without even getting things we really value. In the end we end up with a bunch of stuff that made us feel satisfied for a mere moment but that costs us big time.
2. It will give you the right friends
I believe that we are an average of the people we associate with. It’s no surprise that misery loves company. Lonely, dissatisfied, lost and confused people tend to do things that require immediate gratification however temporary and empty it may end up being. They’re impulsive in a way that brings them ongoing regret. These people go on dates they don’t want to be on, they drink more alcohol than they really want to drink, they blow more money than they have and they try to be all things to all people in an effort to feel good about who and what they are and to make people like them. These people are looking on the outside for something to make them feel valuable on the inside. They’re confused and they have it backward.
Once someone in this situation begins to delay gratification in an effort to live with more purpose, they begin to evaluate things in a different way. They begin to make decisions that are measured and purposeful. Once they cut the need for immediate gratification from their daily lives they live with more intention and are able to identify and subdue their passions in order to lead a life that is centered on the quality of interaction and quality of experience instead of quantity. Because they are living purposefully, they begin to interact with people who are living in the same way. Their friends who previously made-up their insecure group of enabling, lonely souls quickly disappear and find other people to prey on for energy, gratification and validation. This leaves the newly rejuvenated person who can delay instant gratification with less stress, more fun and a more rewarding life free from regret.
3. It will attract better lovers
Everyone wants to find that special someone who will love them for who and what they are. But when you’re a slave to immediate gratification you’re not living life honestly, you’re living it as an impostor who is seeking affirmation from the world around them instead of from within. You don’t even know how to find true meaning, purpose and happiness in your own life so how could someone else truly get to know the real you – you don’t even know the real you.
Once you set aside the need for quick and fleeting moments of satisfaction you begin to find things that truly bring meaning to your life and you will attract and be attracted to other people who are on the same wavelength. You’ll soon find the type of people you are attracting in a romantic sense to be much more grounded, mature, responsible and fun than the type of people you were previously attracting and attracted to. It’s really cool to see and I’ve seen this many times in my lifetime. This is one of the best things you could possibly hope to see for one of your friends or family members.
4. You’ll become more reliable
Reliability is something of endless value. People value reliability in others more than just about anything else. People who can delay gratification in order to gain the thing, experience or relationship they truly desire are rare in a civilized society and more opportunity will come to people living in this way. Employers want team players, loved ones want reliable family members and high-value friends want to have people in their lives who will come through no matter the situation. Flaky personalities are the same as those needing immediate gratification. These personalities are like feathers in the wind. They’re lost and always searching blindly for something to make them feel better but rarely find it.
Those who are astute enough to look inward instead of outward eventually understand that delaying gratification for the greater good makes them a reliable person that others will grow to count on and reward with opportunity. I do not know that I can identify a single factor that is more important to gaining opportunity in the modern world than being a reliable person.
These are four (4) of the things that I’ve found to make people better human beings simply by learning to delay their own personal gratification in order to gain the opportunities and relationships that will truly satisfy them. The concept is simple, the execution of it is not. Delaying gratification in our daily lives requires focus and the ability to determine what truly matters and what is needed to achieve it. I hope you’ll gain something from this article as I am writing from personal experience. Each and every day I struggle to delay gratification in my own life but have found it to be a great exercise in self control and self mastery. I hope you’ll make it a daily focus as well.
Best to you my friends!