One of the most common misconceptions in our “fast food society” is that we are entitled to immediate wealth by virtue of desire.
Au contraire, my friend.
Focused dedication and yes – sacrifice – is often needed in order to climb that staircase to our earthly desires. Let me assure you that it is a staircase worth climbing. The simple yet powerful concept of DELAYED GRATIFICATION can be the key to your success.
The famous Stanford Marshall experiment was a series of studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s which essentially tested children’s ability to hold off and wait a short period of time to obtain a greater reward. The studies found that children who were able to wait longer for the larger rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by health, educational attainment, and other life measures.
Think about this for a moment and how you could apply this concept in your daily life. Better yet, I’ll give a personal example. Many years ago, I made the decision to obtain a prominent (and expensive) Graduate Degree to expand and elevate my career choices. Although I have always tried to shy away from debt, I realized this would be a worthy exception and felt confident in my abilities to pay it off.
Sure enough, after graduation I found a gem of a way to tackle the debt and make it a FUN process using delayed gratification and making a game of it. As I began to pull in a decent income, I resisted the desire to buy new shiny objects or blow my money on material possessions that would bring temporary pleasure. Instead, I made additional payments to my student loans in order to reduce the principal.
With each debt payment, I would pay off exactly 1% more of the total debt. For example, for my first “extra” payment I paid off exactly 1% of the total loan. Each subsequent payment would be another additional 1% off the loan (so 2%, then 3%, etc.). I felt a thrill each time, knowing that by cutting significantly into the principal, I was getting closer and closer to financial freedom and escaping the “rat wheel” of debt so many get caught in.
The interesting thing was, that based on good old fashioned math, my payments began to DECREASE even though the percentage of total debt I was paying off was getting higher. I was almost disappointed when I made that last payment!
In the end, I paid off my debt years before the average student, many of whom had a larger income than me! By delaying unneeded purchases and working towards my goal, I brought myself to a place of security and happiness that unfortunately many people in our debt-riddled society rarely experience.
I encourage all people to find their own way to success via delayed gratification, but simply consider this an example of how to navigate your way towards a goal and hopefully inspire others!