What lessons does delayed gratification hold for life?

Good things come to those who wait!
Illustration credits – Sanjana Jain


Virtually everything is a click away today – anything you want can be delivered to your doorstep within 24 hours or less, the choicest of foods across a multitude of restaurants are only but a few minutes away and all the entertainment you seek can most likely be streamed on this very device right this instant. It makes you think whether, for today’s one-click generation, delayed gratification is even relevant. In this world that makes it possible for everything to happen now, why wait till later?

Maybe the concept of delayed gratification can be construed as a sign of maturity, a concept that has not even touched the lives of many of the current generation. Though, if you come to think of it, it’s relevance has not depleted in the least; rather it has become all the more significant. In today’s world when everything is within reach, delaying gratification is a test of one’s resolve. But, then why delay what is easily available? I think there are enough reasons to do that:

  • It helps you value what you get. As they say, anything that comes easily is not valued as much – be it money, fame or relationships. However, if you have worked hard for them, you value these achievements or acquisitions much more.
  • It can be a source of motivation. When you set a goal for yourself and decide that you will enjoy the gratification only once you have achieved those goals, delayed gratification becomes a source of immense motivation.
  • You learn to live within your mean. Not only is everything easily accessible today but also the money to access the same is just there, thanks to the credit cards and pre-approved loan limits which banks are falling over each other to offer to you.
  • You compel yourself to think. Once you deny yourself instant gratification and delay the fulfilment of the desire, you pass over that refraction period immediately following stimulation during which your thinking is suspended, your faculties regain control of the mind and compel you to think whether the need is genuine enough to require gratification.
  • You cut your clutter. The later you accumulate the more you are living with your current options longer and hence delaying the building of clutter for yourself. Clutter breeds its own tension of organising the same and de-cluttering at some stage, which can be an energy-draining exercise
  • You may just skip the desire. If you pass the instant gratification opportunity, chances are that you may completely skip the desire. Avoiding trips to the mall during shopping sales, invariably means you don’t end up buying at all, once the sales frenzy has passed over.
  • You also do something for the planet. Not only for yourself but you also help the planet by delayed gratification of your desires. Most of the things that we consume come at a cost to the environment, the later we gratify ourselves, to that extent we delay our carbon footprint or even sometimes avoid it completely, as the need to gratify passes over with time since the desire was never backed with a real need.

Try putting delayed gratification in action and see if it works for you, earn the fulfilment of every desire by aligning it with goals and outcomes that you want to achieve.

Delaying gratification leads to long term satisfaction.

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