“Delayed gratification.” Who likes the sound of that?

“Delayed gratification.” Who likes the sound of that?

Not me. I want my thrills, and I want them now. Titillate me.

The idea of delaying gratification seems not only to be difficult but also counterintuitive. However, it is something that has been shown to lead to happiness in the long run.

Constant gratification, on the other hand, tends not to build anything that lasts beyond the moment.

The internet era has exacerbated a world of instant gratification.

We’ve all been there: scrolling through our phones at the checkout lane, looking for something to buy because we “need” it right now.

In this era of instant gratification, it’s easy to constantly be consuming things that we don't need, to be stalking people we shouldn’t care for.

The reason people recommend delayed gratification is because it leads to a payoff down the road, but the question is: Do people really want to wait for a payoff down the road?

Human beings, in our animal nature, are built to want instant gratification. We’re not necessarily able by nature to resist temptations of things like fried foods and glamorous social media.

Delaying gratification runs contrary to instinct, so try this mind trick:

Don’t think of it as “delayed gratification.” Think of it as an immediate action that brings a later thrill.

It’s not “delayed gratification,” it’s “action now with a later thrill.”

Do things now that bring thrills now, and do things now that bring thrills later.

The idea is that by doing things now, you will feel satisfaction later on. When you look back at all the amazing things that you were able to accomplish, then you will realise that it was worth it to act in the moment for pleasure down the line.

Time is an illusion, after all.

When we’re in the New Year, Christmas seems so far away.

Yet, when Christmas rolls around, we inevitably wonder where the year went. It seemed just to whizz by in a blur. It’s the same thing every year - increasingly so, in fact.

Time is an illusion.

If you can live in January understanding that Christmas is only a blink away, then you will have mastered time.

If you can live fully every day realising that you are already dead, you will have mastered life.

It’s a mild mental illness to think in false dichotomies.

It’s not a battle between doing what feels good now and doing what feels good later.

It’s about BOTH doing what feels good now AND doing what feels good later.

So you exercise to feel good later AND you eat your steak and drink your wine to feel good now.

Like riding a bicycle, you can learn the theory of it by reading a book (gravity versus centrifugal force), but you really ever only learn to ride a bike by doing it. And inevitably, falling off to the right or to the left a few times.

But eventually, you’ll get the hang of it and go speeding on down the road.

Enjoy yourself.


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