The other evening I told my 4 year old son it was time to brush his teeth.
His reply: “I’m sorry, mom. I’m just not feeling it right now.”
Yes, my son is 4 going on 16!
The truth: It doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 16 or 116. Often the most important things we all need to do wind up double-dutying as things we do not feel like doing.
When I look at this list, I can clearly see how my biggest opportunities for happiness and growth are consistently preceded by a big, whiny:
The reason we feel resistance?
It’s far more fun to seek immediate gratification – than to delay gratification – even if we know there’s an awesome longer-term benefit awaiting.
We all recognize that hard work, patience and willpower are important.
- Brush teeth = no holes in your teeth
- Clean up = live in a comfy home and know where the heck things are
- Exercise = be healthy & energized
- Don’t eat too much chocolate = no sugar high followed by fatigue plunge & weight gain
- Do work = pride & success & ability to pay for comfy home, food and coffee
- Shop within a budget = ability to keep on paying for comfy home, food and coffee
- Work on taxes = certainty that I will stay living in my comfy home
- Share a “loving, courageous dialogue” with my partner = more loving, longer-lasting relationship
Yet, when given the choice between chocolate versus salad – or sleeping late versus working out – we’re often tempted to choose the thing which feels good in the moment.
We can go through life choosing what’s easy instead of what’s right – and wind up mightily disappointed.
Often the hardest thing and the most right thing are the same exact thing! You should never sacrifice what you want most in life, in swap for what you want now.
A comfort zone might be nice place to hang out in – but nothing truly awesome ever grows there.
I’ve eaten too much, spent too much, exercised too little, blurted out things I regret.
I’ve even gotten deeply involved in relationships far too soon.
Our inability to delay gratification not only wreaks havoc in our personal world, but also in our world at large.
Look around. There’s a high divorce rate – because people are more apt to end relationships rather than work on them. There’s an epidemic of obesity and plentiful stories of credit card debt.
More people than ever are being diagnosed with impulse control disorders.
Plus the number of children and adults with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and addictions are all on the rise.
We all know it’s not simply the smartest people who score the highest grades and biggest salaries.
It’s those who are willing to delay gratification – and put in the effort of discipline to study hard and pay their dues at a job – or any skill to be mastered.
Basically, when you’re unable to resist immediate gratification you wreak major havoc.
They make safe choices for each quarter – instead of bolder choices that will benefit the company in the longer-term.
They reach for quick-fixes, instead of putting in the work of finding out the systemic cause to their problems – which is usually some form of seeking immediate gratification.
We’ve become addicted to our gadgets. We love the instant-feel-good of our cellphones – often over the longer-term benefits of taking the time to meet up with loved ones in person – or even spending time alone, sitting, reflecting, thinking.
financial problems, environmental problems, ecological problems, health problems, obesity problems, crime problems, etc…
Plus, each year these problems just keep getting worst – because we’re ironically seeking “immediate gratification solutions” to the very problems created by our addiction to immediate gratification!
We need to slow down and dig down!
We need to take mindful time to make more conscious, long-term-focused choices – in health, education, business, relationships, financial matters, parenting, etc.
The ability to delay gratification is the most important life skill we must all learn to embrace – if we want to ensure living a happy, satisfying and successful life – plus ensure we do not destroy our planet.
Want tools to resist your immediate gratification urges for food? Click here now!
Share below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about immediate gratification? Share your personal story or a personal tool below!
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.