Delayed Gratification: A Tool For Successful Lifev| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 08 December 2022 01:43 GMT

Delayed Gratification: A Tool For Successful Lifev

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

By Wasim Kakroo

IN this modern era of one-click transactions and window shopping, instant gratification has become a norm of the society. The idea that you must get what you want right away is reinforced by the availability of smartphones and Wi-Fi resulting in dopamine surges in the pleasure centre of our brain all day from time to time. Despite being the new norm, instant gratification isn't usually the best, though; in fact, impulse control, i.e., delayed gratification is what differentiates us from animals. The ability to delay your desires to go after your pleasurable short term objectives can help you in achieving your long term more profitable objectives.

Expecting to achieve everything you want or desire, instantly, is unrealistic. In addition, instant gratification actually leads to frustration because it creates false expectations. You can buy time for thoughtful planning and failure-based learning by developing the skill of delayed gratification. But the question is what is delayed gratification? And how can one develop this skill?


The concept of delayed gratification refers to the ability to resist the lure of an immediate benefit in the hope that a bigger reward will come along later. It is an effective technique for acquiring the ability to live life purposefully. It relates to impulse control because people with strong impulse control frequently perform well at delayed gratification. The good news is that we can all learn this skill to a lesser or a greater degree.

Since we know that humans are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid suffering that is why children look for instant gratification of their pleasures. As children grow into adults, their capacity to weigh risks and rewards, helps to handle this urge and allows us to postpone fulfillment rather than choosing poorly, especially if the eventual reward is bigger than the one we'd obtain right away. This is delayed gratification.


Delayed gratification as a crucial life skill is the capacity to wait for a better payoff down the road. By practicing delayed gratification, you can do things like put off major purchases to save for a trip, skip dessert to lose weight, or accept a job you don't particularly enjoy but that can help you to improve your CV in the long run and hence can help you have a successful career later in your life.b

Studies reveal that one of the most valuable personality traits that makes a person successful is the ability to delay gratification. People who learn to resist the need to immediately feel completely satisfied do better in their careers, relationships, health, and finances than those who give in to their urges immediately.

It is difficult to master the ability to delay gratification of pleasures. For those who haven't mastered impulse control, it means experiencing dissatisfaction, which is why it appears unachievable. While choosing to indulge in something now might feel nice, exercising discipline and controlling your emotions might lead to more or better rewards in the long run. Delaying gratification can help you develop more self-control over time and will ultimately speed up the process of achieving your long-term objectives.

How can practicing delayed gratification help us in our daily life?

Delayed gratification is an important life skill that can help people from all walks of life. To describe how important acquiring this skill is, let us consider the following examples:

1. Relationships:

This skill helps you to avoid getting involved in a fight or being angry with your partner; instead, it can help you to use your communication skills to come up with a workable solution with your partner. It means, putting your phone away, forgoing the need to check social media or send texts, and deciding to spend quality time with your partner.

2. Career

You can use your internet time to learn things that can help you grow and advance in your profession instead of aimlessly binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through social media.

3. Health:

Employing the skill of delayed gratification can help you against giving in to the instant gratification of having your favorite fast food, and hence harvest the reward of a good health. You can refuse the ease, assurance, and immediate reward that comes with a simple workout as it helps you to discover your exercise motivation and enjoy the delayed gratification of health advantages later. It can also help you to deal with the tendencies to go for short cuts- gambling, illegal and unprotected sexual practices, drugs etc. in dealing with your frustrations and stresses of daily life.

4. Finances:

You can reward yourself in the long run with more savings and financial independence by delaying the gratification of buying something you don't absolutely need. When you invest, you might not see immediate results, but as your money grows through compounding, the delayed gratification will be more beneficial.


1. Recognize your values first.

Delaying gratification is not easy as it goes against the animalistic tendencies of us humans and hence it needs sacrifices of our urges. How can we make sacrifices if we don't know what we're aiming for?

Thus, recognizing your personal and professional values is important before you attempt to improve your ability to delay gratification. Knowing what you're aiming for makes it simpler to stay focused on your goals when you're tempted.

2. Start small and build from there.

There's no need to begin exercising your ability to delay gratification with something that won't happen for years. Start small and work your way up before tackling your major, long-term objectives. Starting with something small still needs delaying gratification, but it may not require you to wait for too long to get the small goals done and hence may increase your confidence to practice delayed gratification for bigger goals.

Your capacity for practicing delayed gratification for small goals will determine how long you should hold out. If you find it difficult to wait a week for a reward, for example, you might start with one day. The habit can be ingrained into your life gradually.

3. Stop being on autopilot.

Do you frequently succumb to temptations without giving them much thought?

If this is the case, mindfulness training might help you become more conscious of your actions. Stop for a second when you catch yourself acting in a habitual manner. Consider your motivations for your actions. Spend some time considering your feelings. Be mindful of the little things. Every time this occurs, pause for a moment to bring your awareness to the present. You'll be able to stop the habit of seeking instant gratification the more you do this.

4. Develop gratitude.

One of the best ways to teach your brain to develop delayed gratification is to constantly remind yourself of all that you have. You realize you don't need the new things you've been desiring when you consider all the outfits you're already fortunate enough to own or the perfectly good car you already own. Be thankful that you have food to sustain your body rather than being angry because you only had a salad for lunch instead of a burger. When you are grateful, you naturally experience delayed gratification.

Do you ever wonder how our society's emphasis on instant gratification molds the way you and your loved ones think and behave? Delaying gratification might give you the power to refocus and recover the narrative of what really matters in your life.

  • The author is a licensed clinical psychologist (alumni of Govt. Medical College Srinagar) and works as a consultant clinical psychologist at Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at Rambagh Srinagar. He can be reached at 8825067196



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