“But mom, I want it now!” Do you remember uttering those words as a kid? I sure do. They were usually followed by a swift backhand to the face delivered by Mom Ninja. While I use to think she just got a sick pleasure out of smacking me, I realized she was actually teaching me an important life lesson: Just because I wanted something right then and there, didn’t mean I’d get it. She was teaching me to delay my urge to “want”.
I don’t think that we have to delay gratification in all aspects of life. If you are hungry, you should probably eat. If you feel fat because you just ate, you should probably run. If you feel tired because you went running, you should probably take a nap. See there are times when immediate gratification pays off, but there are also times when waiting pays back ten fold.
Here are a few areas of my life that I have committed to delay gratification…
Each month I put $674 dollars in to retirement for future me to enjoy. While it would be totally awesome to spend that money on a ton of frivolous expenses now, I decide not to. I have tamed my desire to accumulate stuff, and replaced it with a commitment to providing for my future self and family. I know that contributing to retirement will benefit me far more than wasteful spending ever can. I do my best to live a disciplined life, especially when it comes to securing my future.
I’ve always taken love seriously. I knew it was something greater than a word. I knew I could not just go around telling every girlfriend I’ve had that I love them. It wasn’t until I met Girl Ninja that I was ready to love someone. I’m glad to say she is the first, and the last, woman I will ever love. (Side note: I am Girl Ninja’s only boyfriend and her first kiss….isn’t that precious!) We made some decisions early in our relationship to delay the immediate benefits of being in love. We did not want to move in together or participate in “adult” activities until we were married. We have both delayed our desire to combine our lives because we believe that our upcoming marriage will be stronger because of our patience. That’s not to say couples that haven’t “waited” suck at delaying gratification or will have a less satisfactory relationship ’cause I don’t think they will. Girl Ninja and I are just weird and have different views…okay?
Peanut Butter and Jelly:
Yeah that’s right. I delay my gratification when it comes to eating a PB&J. We all know the crust is the worst part of a sandwich right? It’s dry, discolored, and doesn’t really provide much benefit to my eating experience. It’s for this reason that I eat the crust first. I get the hard part done so every progressive bite gets that much more tasty. It all comes to a rising climax as I get to the last bite. The best bite. The center of the sandwich. There’s something about the middle of a sandwich that is heavenly. It’s as if god reveals himself to us all through that delicious last bite. Every time I eat a PB&J, I make sure to eat around the edges so I can save the best part for last. Here’s a picture of my sammich from last night…
Discipline is what separates the strong from the weak, the rich from the poor, the smart from the stupid. Maturity is often defined by the willingness to delay gratification. Does your personal and financial life reflect maturity? I sure hope it does!
What are some areas of your life where you have chosen to “wait”? Have you ever delayed gratification for something and wish that you hadn’t? Why do you think so many people struggle with this concept? Is it clever advertising? Media? Jealousy? Do all cultures struggle with this, or is it an American thing?
p.s. on an unrelated note, if you didn’t catch it when I twittered this, check out the funniest Yahoo question ever asked, followed by an even funnier response…
Happy weekend all. Don’t get too crazy 🙂