** DELAY GRATIFICATION by Graham White**

If I were asked for a description to the key to success, I would say "Delayed Gratification".  Every concept of success is tied into some form of Delayed Gratification.

The problem is, we live in a world of Instant Gratification:

  • Instant News
  • Instant Dinners
  • Buying on Credit
  • Instant Millionaires
  • Overnight Celebrity
  • Fast Food
  • High Speed Internet
  • Movies On Demand

With everything available on demand, how can we learn to develop the things that take time?

  • Character
  • Loyalty
  • Empathy
  • Discipline
  • Courage
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Patience
  • Self-Control
  • Contentment

Watching the coverage of the War on Iraq, I was struck with the reporters constantly asking the question, "How long will the war last?", the response being, "As long as it takes."  As the war looked like it was nearing an end, the question changed to, "What type of infrastructure is going to be put in place to run the country?", the response being, "The war isn't even over yet.  The question is premature."

Our desire for immediacy ultimately costs us the very thing we are seeking.  

  • Instantly satisfying our stomach makes us fat
  • Instantly satisfying our material desires makes us broke
  • Instantly satisfying our sexual desires leads to divorce
  • Instantly satisfying our desire for money leads to unfulfilling work
  • Instantly satisfying our ego offends our peers
  • Instantly satisfying our immediate focus leads to disorder
  • Overall, instant a life of instant gratification leads to a shallow, hollow, disconnected and impersonal existence.

In the book "Emotional Intelligence", Daniel Goleman talks about a study of 4 year olds who were told that if they could wait 15 minutes to eat the cookie on the table in the room, they would get two.  The children from that test were tracked and a survey was taken of their success in life at age 18.  That single test was the greatest predictor of their success in school, popularity with peers and students and estimation of their future success.  Guess which group, the ones who waited 15 minutes or the ones who ate the cookie without waiting, went on to be highly successful?

Unless you endure severe consequences, chances are you aren't going to change your gratifying behavior overnight.  If you eat to satisfy your emotional needs, you won't stop because you tell yourself you need to delay gratification, but there are things you can begin to change.

You can begin to wait.  Push yourself just a little bit longer.  Take the important first steps in overcoming your weak area.   Set up consequences that are more painful than the gratification is worth.  

Become aware of the things you do to instantly gratify your needs.  Determine that you will become more successful and take small, easy steps towards changing the way you behave.  Take your time, be prepared to fail, but focus on your end goal and what it is going to provide you with once you achieve your objective.

Graham White