Learn to Delay Gratification


For many of us, our inability to say no (to certain things), has been, is, and will be, the thing that stands between us and success. At least until we determine to choose, do and be different. More often than not, putting off pleasure ‘in the now’ is the difference between failure and success over the long term. Especially when it comes to transforming our bodies.

Think drugs, alcohol, food, sitting on the couch.

The Quick-Fix

Working with thousands of people over the last hundred years (or so), it’s been my experience and observation that the need for a quick fix is what brings many of us undone. And I’m not just talking about food or drugs here. Being addicted to pleasure (or comfort) in the now is usually synonymous with pain, disappointment, under-achievement and even illness, over the long term. Our short-term gain becomes our long-term pain. Especially when that short-term gain (salt, fat, sugar, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, sex) creates almost-instant biochemical changes in our physiology.

Pizza Anyone?

Why does the obese guy (who says he wants to lose weight) eat a large pizza when nobody’s watching? Because (1) he doesn’t want people to know (2) it gives him instant pleasure and (3) if he doesn’t eat the pizza (thereby delaying gratification) it won’t give him instant weight-loss (something he desires), so instant pleasure (in this instance, pizza) it will be. Followed by an hour or three of self-loathing. Again.

And so the cycle continues.

There’s always next Monday.

The Marketing and the Reality

Away from the promises, the marketing, the sale’s pitches and the hype of ‘personal development’ (the industry), the practical reality for the majority of us ‘normal folk’ who want to change our lives (or part thereof) is that the change process is typically a messy, uncomfortable, inconvenient and painful one. For a while, at least. Despite what the book (CD, DVD) cover says, inside-out transformation is rarely quick, easy or painless.

More than ever, I’m convinced that most would-be transformers (people who want to change some aspect of their reality) are barking up the wrong tree. In terms of success or failure, the critical issue is not (1) what we know (surprisingly) (2) what we understand or (3) what resources we have at our disposal but rather, (4) what we’re willing to give up in ‘the now’ to get where we want to go in the future.

Scroll to Top