“Sacrifice really means giving up something good for something better.” – Stephen Covey
Delayed gratification can be summed up with a simple quote – “It’s giving up what you want now for what you want most”.
Sounds simple in concept, but is excruciatingly difficult to practice. It’s one of the reasons why most people fail.
Let’s assume you want to start an online business. In order to do that successfully, you’ll need to study how online businesses are set up. You’ll need to choose a business model within this niche to focus on.
You’ll need to test and familiarize yourself with all the different components of online marketing related to your business, from list building to content marketing.
Here’s the problem…
You lack time. You currently have a day job and by the time you get home, have dinner and settle down, it’s 7 pm. You know you need to hit the sack by 11 pm because you don’t want to wake up groggy for work at 6 am the next day.
So you have about 4 hours to work on your business. Or do you?
Most people will tell themselves, “Ahhh, I’m tired after working all day. Maybe I should just rest and watch TV today.”
Or they decide to hit the bar with a few friends and have beers until 10.30 pm. Whatever it is, they do other activities to relax instead of working.
If they chose to work on their business from 7 pm to 11 pm daily, for 5 days a week – they’d be delaying their relaxation and fun. This is an example of delayed gratification.
However, by delaying it now, in the future when their online business takes off, they’ll be able to quit their day job and work their own hours. Now they’ll have much more time to do what they want to when they want to.
This is the BIGGEST benefit of delayed gratification. The rewards in the future are usually much sweeter.
- Financial security
Saving your money instead of frittering it away on covetous desires will mean that you have a nest egg that you can rely on in the future. Your savings can be used for investing to multiply your net worth.
Or it can be used to scale your business and so on. That’s what you can do if you save your money instead of blowing it on expensive vacations or fast cars.
When you have enough wealth, you can indulge. But when you’re trying to accumulate wealth, it’s best to practice delayed gratification.
- Instils discipline
Delayed gratification will make you a more disciplined person. Obesity is an epidemic these days. People who start dieting can’t stop themselves from eating the moment they see the food they like.
They can’t delay the gratification that comes from gobbling a doughnut or polishing off a sleeve of cookies. As a result, they never lose weight and struggle with it for years.
Once you can delay your gratification, the pounds will come off as you indulge less in unhealthy foods. Once you’ve reached your ideal healthy weight, you can indulge moderately without feeling guilty.
The same applies in business. You may hate to do a task… but you do it anyway instead of procrastinating.
You understand that the work may be difficult and tiring, but if you wish to be successful in the future, you must pay the price now. Delaying your current ‘comfort’ will mean that you’re more comfortable in the future.
There’s always an opportunity cost involved. Not delaying your gratification now may mean not being able to live the life you’ve always wanted.
When you understand that, you’ll gladly do what you need to rather than what you want to. Once you can do that, it’s just a matter of time until you succeed and have the freedom to do what you want to.