Delayed Gratification: Don’t Put Off Living While Trying to Reach Your Goals

delayed gratification

Would you rather eat one marshmallow now? Or wait for a few minutes then get eat another one? Yes, it’s the famous Marshmallow Test done in 1972. The experiment teaches us the rewards of delayed gratification.

Practicing delayed gratification is resisting instant pleasure and holding out until you get something better (like two pieces of marshmallows).

Benefit of Delayed Gratification

The results of the Marshmallow Test showed that the children who practiced delayed gratification became more successful adults in all areas compared to those who gave in to temptation. To simply put it, life is better when you don’t give in to temptation.

Real-Life Marshmallow Tests

Adult life doesn’t differ that much. In real life we have these marshmallow tests: study now, party later; save now, spend later; eat healthy today, prevent debilitating illnesses; work hard, retire rich.

We have to wait a while to get what we want or to achieve our goals. The challenge with delayed gratification though is sometimes we become too focused on our goals that we forget to live life. Are you guilty of this, too? Because I am.

In pursuit of financial independence, I lived like a miser. I didn’t buy anything for myself; maybe a book every few months. I didn’t eat out. I didn’t enjoy the fruits of my labor because I was saving it for later.

Then in 2016, I met this guy who taught me how to live life: treat myself to a nice dinner from time to time; go to vacations; buy something for myself. That’s when I learned to live, to enjoy today while in pursuit of my goals.

Are You Putting Off Living?

If you’re guilty of doing the following, then yes, you’re practicing delayed gratification to the extent that you’re putting off living:

  1. You’re too focused on your goal: Being focused is great, but being too focused that you feel guilty for taking a rest day can be bad.
  2. Your goal is your be-all and end-all: You are defined by your goals. You don’t have anything else but these goals. If you fail to accomplish them, you’re a failure.
  3. Everything you do is related to your goals: Slow down, you’ll get there!

Putting off living because of delayed gratification is like taking a road trip with your friends and keeping your eyes on the road (even if you’re not the driver) and ignoring the beautiful sights you drive by.

Live Life

Your life should not be hold while working on your goals. As they say, happiness is a journey not a destination. Don’t be afraid to take a break and do something unrelated to your goals.

Delayed Gratification: Don’t Put Off Living While Trying to Reach Your Goals

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