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Live Your Way To Happiness With Delayed Gratification

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Human beings are hardwired to want things, and we tend to have the urge to want them right away. Instant gratification is a habit where we forgo long term goals for short term activities. It’s the habit where we indulge in immediate pleasures that ultimately result in long term pain. 

Instant Gratification and sudden impulses cause us to find reasons and excuses not to do something because of the pain it creates at that moment, even though we know we should be doing something else that helps us attain our long term objectives.

Instant Gratification

Instant gratification is a form of procrastination. We self-sabotage ourselves to feel good immediately where we get caught up indulging in temptations at a high cost. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in the long run. We must give something to get something back.

When it comes to decision making, there are two paths we can choose. We can avoid pain at that moment, or we can delay pleasure for a bigger goal.

We want to lose weight. It doesn’t come off quick enough, so we give up.

We want to save money but need to eat. So we pay the delivery fee to get food immediately.

We want to wake up early and start the day. So we hit snooze and sleep in.

We want to eat healthily. We create excuses for ourselves and eat high-calorie foods that don’t contribute to our health.

Our cultural norms often allow us to seek temporary comfort. A lot of the time, we don’t see value in having patience during vulnerable or uncomfortable times. We often make our choices according to how we can avoid pain in that exact moment and, in doing so, we fail to see that delayed gratification is where solutions to our problems lie.

The difference in rewards from delayed gratification is significant in creating a happier life. Delaying gratification can have positive effects on ourselves. It can create academic success, physical health, social competence, and better psychological health. The struggle to recognise and act on delayed gratification can lie in the efforts to overcome the instinctive libidinal drive of what’s known as, ‘the id’.

We want to lose weight. We become patient, we enjoy the process and the weight starts to come off.

We want to save money but need to eat. We drive to the grocery store and spend very little.

We want to wake up early and start the day. We go to sleep earlier. 

We want to eat healthily. We go to the grocery store and buy fresh, healthy foods for the week.

“In a world where people are hungry for quick fixes and for instant gratification, there’s no patience for the long, slow rebuilding process.” – Dan Hill

Pleasure Principle

Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud believed that the human personality consisted of three components: The id, the ego, and the superego. Freud coined the term ‘Pleasure Principle,’ which is used to characterise the tendency of people to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It’s argued that people tend to go to great lengths to avoid momentary pain, especially in times of vulnerability and weakness.

In psychoanalytic theory, the id is responsible for our unconscious mind, which refers to a part of our mind that is responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and memories of which we are not consciously aware of. The pleasure principle is driven by our id. According to Freud, the id is the most evident in early childhood and infancy, whereas the ego and superego develop later on.

Think about children in their earlier life and how they seek instant gratification. A child wants food, but when told ‘no,’ the child cries. A child wants to stay up late, and isn’t allowed; so the child throws a tantrum. As a child gets older, they become more realistic about their desires and must tolerate pain to delay gratification, which is because of the constraints on life.

Unlike young children, adults are characterised by their ability to delay gratification and tolerate hard work, discipline, and vulnerability to fulfill their responsibilities and achieve their goals. Delaying gratification brings a whole range of benefits in terms of our happiness and what we’re able to achieve in life.

Delayed Gratification

We are in a world full of distractions where we are constantly plugged into social media or the internet. Our connectedness with the internet brings information, communication, and entertainment to us in real-time and brings a gratification that we are so used to. By learning how to manage our needs in the moment of decision, we can thrive more in our careers, health, and relationships.

It’s not the easiest skill to acquire and takes practice. Simply because it involves a process of being uncomfortable. Choosing to have something now might feel good, but making the effort to have discipline and impulse control will improve our results over time, ultimately helping us reach our goals faster.

“We are talking about an attitude. Be able to give up something now to get something later.” – Joe Hill

4 Strategies To Delay Gratification:

  1. Know Your Values – Understand what’s important to you. By doing this, you will find it easier to set useful goals. Choices are made a lot easier and indecision isn’t as prevalent. It leads to happiness and success.
  2. Set Goals – Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve helps keep your focus on the long term and resisting temptations becomes a lot easier than if no goals were set at all.
  3. Plan – When you know what you love, you set goals to generate that fulfilment and love for yourself. Creating a plan to help you get there only enhances delaying gratification and helps resist temptations.
  4. Reward Yourself – Delaying gratification can take weeks, months and years. When you’ve understood what you want, set goals, and mapped out a plan, it’s important to reward yourself. Breaking down those goals and rewarding yourself along the way reminds you that you’re on the right track of where you want to get to.

We don’t always need to say ‘no’ to the things that make us feel good instantly. Having healthy breaks is important. The breaks we take should be dependent on how much time and energy are consumed delaying our gratification. By saying ‘no’ all the time, it means we often aren’t rewarding ourselves.

According to Aristotle, true happiness is about developing habits and surrounding yourself with people that grow your soul. This is how our greatest potential can be reached.

Do you struggle with instant gratification? If so, share with us below how you’ve found ways to overcome the need for wanting things now!

Blake is a writer, reader, sports lover and creator of blakedevos.com. He shares his thoughts through writing on Productivity, Healthy Habits, Athlete Inspiration and Health + Fitness. When he's not writing and reading,  he is boxing or socialising. You can take part in his Habit and Productivity Challenge here.

Life

The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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Practicing Self-Devotion: 3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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Life

3 Business Optimization Strategies That Create a Fulfilled Life

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The balance between life and business is an interesting conundrum. There are articles, books, podcasts, and videos that talk about the need for work-life balance. The reality is that the balance has to be specific to your situation, and it’s a lifelong process to attain. Business leaders should be more focused on optimization strategies that create freedom in an enjoyable way. (more…)

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