The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of instant vs. delayed gratification. This idea first entered my mind when I was in Florida for Elevate America which is my national speaking tour where I travel the country elevating and inspiring students, staff, and organizations.
I spent a lot of time with my friend Max and his family and this idea kept coming up. His mom, who is an absolute saint, originally brought it up with regards to food and making decisions about what to eat and when to eat it.
So what exactly is instant vs. delayed gratification?
Instant vs. delayed gratification is the idea that you might pass on something now for a better result in the future. The decisions you make will impact your future. What might seem amazing now, could be even better if you wait.
Let me give you some examples.
Fast food on the way home vs. waiting to have healthier food at home which leads to a healthier lifestyle and feeling better.
Skipping dessert Monday through Friday because you know you are going to your favorite restaurant over the weekend and want to enjoy a delicious dessert which leads discipline and guilt free consumption.
Working out several times a week might not be fun now, but your body will thank you over time. By working out and committing the time, effort, and energy now, you will be more fit and look better which will lead to more self-confidence and a healthier lifestyle.
Partying and not being prepared for work/school vs. preparing now and spending an extra few hours to perform better will leads to more happiness, success and better productivity and achievement.
Saving $100 a month vs. spending $100 on things that don’t matter which gives you a better nest egg and sets you up for the future.
These are just a couple examples to get you thinking, but this concept of instant vs. delayed gratification can be applied to most decisions you make.
Now, I don’t want you to think that you can’t have instant gratification too and enjoy the moment. You can and you should!
I believe that we should keep our priorities and our goals at the front of our mind and if we do that, we will be more focused on delayed gratification. Why? Because when we think about our definition of success and our vision, we are more focused on making that our reality.
When you have a goal or a vision for yourself, you can work backwards to help with your decision process. I know for me, I want to start accumulating more wealth for my future and my future children, which means I may skip buying an extra round of drinks now or the cool pair of pants at the store in order to save money for investments.
When I am at the bar or the store, it might feel that buying drinks or that extra pair of pants is the right move aka instant gratification, but over time with compound interest, saving money will be a much bigger reward for me and help me achieve my goals.
The key to delaying gratification is having discipline. It’s easy to grab fast food or go out with your friends when you should be studying or working. It’s hard to wait and then cook a healthier option or stay in while everyone else is having fun.
The trick is to start being conscious of your decisions and see how they impact your life. Every person has a different definition of success, so it is important to take your definition of success and figure out what decisions will lead that that lifestyle. Some decisions might prefer instant gratification such as being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want to while others may require many delayed gratification decisions such as skipping the delicious brownie with ice cream or the trip to Jack in the Box for a late night munchie meal.
I hope that you will think about your definition of success and vision, and when you do, think about how your choices now will impact your future.