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Instant Gratification Vs Delayed Gratification

In life we all have certain basic human needs. Some of these needs include security, love, leisure and respect. However whilst we all have the same basic needs, the way we satisfy those needs will vary from person to person.

The 2 main ways that needs can be satisfied are immediately or at a later date. This is often called immediate or delayed gratification.

Immediate Gratification

Immediate gratification is the most common way people fulfill their needs. This means that rather than waiting for something to happen in the future, they prefer not to wait, and to have it now.

However immediate gratification usually comes at the expense of long term failure in life. This is because when needs are satisfied immediately, they are often done so with little or no regard for future consequences.

For example, comfort is one of our most basic human needs, and everyone seeks a certain degree of comfort in their lives. However should you choose to fulfill that need immediately, such as by choosing to sit and watch TV or play video games all day, then it is most likely you will not achieve anything significant in life if that is all you do.

Delayed Gratification

This does not mean having comfort is a bad thing. If you choose to delay satisfying the need for comfort and instead focus on other areas of your life, such as financial or romantic, then in the long run you are likely to achieve greater success in life.

However delayed gratification is much harder than it sounds. The fact is, the society we live in tends to promote a greater desire for immediate gratification. By providing us with instant quick fixes and on demand entertainment. As a result people have got used to expecting things immediately, whereas only 50 years ago, they were more willing to work and wait for the things they wanted.

This has also resulted in a mentality that if results are not seen immediately, then it is best to give up and try something else. Consequently you often see many people complaining of a lack of success in their life, even though they put minimal effort and time into what they were trying to achieve. If they don’t “make it” within a few months, or worse a few weeks, then they usually just give up.

This is an extremely important characteristic to recognize, because highly successful people are masters of delaying gratification. Rather than trying to fulfill their needs immediately, with instant fixes or get rich quick schemes, they recognize that success takes time and hard work. And this means delaying the natural urge for immediate gratification.

Since successful people are no different from you and I, this means they still dislike doing the same things we dislike. However they are able to do them anyway, because they understand that is the only way a person can ever become truly successful. So how do they delay the temptation for immediate gratification? With discipline, and lot’s of it!