Delayed gratification what is it and will you be more successful for mastering delayed gratification in the different elements of your life.
What is delayed gratification
It simply means choosing to delay gratification to benefit the future instead of the current moment in time. For example choosing not to buy something in the moment to prevent getting into debt to improve the future.
Many successful people have great ability in delayed gratification, they are able to put their future goals first before the current moment in time. Another way of wording it is that they have great willpower.
There are many other examples of delaying gratification, eating or drinking for instant gratification is posing a major health risk for countries like the US and UK. People are being tempted more and more with instant fixes in all areas of life and it’s getting harder and harder to resist.
The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment
This experiment was led by Walker Mischel a psychologist at Stanford University. The experiment involved offering children a treat, a marshmallow or a pretzel which they could eat immediately after the tester left the room, however they were told that if they waited until the tester came back into the room they would be offered an even greater reward.
Most of the children were able to wait for the return of the tester with only a few which couldn’t wait and took the treat as soon as the tester left.
The children that took part in this experiment were monitored for a period of time after. The children that were able to resist and show delayed gratification were performing and getting better grades and overall were psychologically more stable and they were doing better in almost all areas of life.
There have been many studies in delaying gratification, these studies show a connection between delayed gratification and academic success and success in life in general. The ones that had trouble to control their impulses had higher rates of alcohol and other forms of addiction and also a link to crime and incarceration.
So based on these studies it seems clear about the importance of being able to delay gratification. Is it something that is genetic or is it a learned skill? the truth is a bit of both.
At the end of the day we all have a choice, we can choose to have something now or we can wait, we can show willpower and think more about the effects of our decisions and the future.
Distraction is proven to be an effective way of increasing our ability to resist something. Also thinking about things in a different way. For example if your are tempted to buy something, instead of thinking about owning the item think about the item itself, the colour, the shape, the details, it will distract you from wanting to own it.