I watched my kid savouring the ice-cream that was melting fast in his hands, and I couldn’t help but think about the choice he had made when he was given the treat he always loved. Today turned out to be great day for him the moment his mom passed him his favourite chocolate coated ice pop.
In the hands of us adults, we’ll waste no time in devouring this constantly melting frozen and fatty creamer. Because we know that once out of the freezer, it’s either melt it or eat it. Choice is clear, and it’s instant gratification.
Holding on to the ice pop, or ice-cream cone, a child takes his time to lick the melted creamer with his tongue, tasting the flavour a little at a time. In his or her mind, the ice-cream last as long as he or she want it to be, even though the melting point, and the time it’ll take to melt will be the same. It’s delayed gratification for them.
In the case of eating this fat growing dessert, we know instant gratification will be a clever choice over delayed disappointment. Putting the perspectives of kids aside; what are your options when it’s time to choose?
To get employed for a job and receive a salary on time every month, or to try a startup, risking everything you have and gamble on the chance of enjoying financial freedom in the unknown years to come?
Get a job, get a decent amount of salary every month, that’s instant gratification. To look at the safer side of things, you don’t have to starve. Just do your job, and get paid every month. No fuss; no muss. You’ll have a fixed amount to spend and have your bills paid.
But what are the flip sides?
You’ll get paid only this much, and to only pray (if working hard is not your way of doing things) that you’ll get a handsome increment every year. But there’s always a cap to everything, and there will be a limit to how much you can earn. Unless you get promoted – chances are you’ll be fighting with many others to fill that one position – your salary will only be THIS fixed.
Financial management – are you, or will you be equipped? Earning X dollars and spending X+2 is just a formula that many are familiar with, among others. What will be your choice? To save and invest in order to look forward to better financial freedom, or to spend what you have, because carpe diem? Instant gratification (spend what you have) or delayed (save for a rainy day) ?
Starting up – are you ready? Years of hard work and frugality, often at the costs comfort including that of your loved ones’, clenching onto the hopes that you will earn more than what you’ll ever earn in a lifetime working? How about the risk of losing everything if you aren’t careful, or low on luck? Bear in mind that in the path of startups, there are no shortcuts, and in this case, instant gratification is a bonus, not a will-have. Delayed gratification stands in the bigger part of the pie chart with two colours. In this option, after choosing delayed gratification (startup), are you ready for further delayed gratification (hard work paying off) ?
If I were to tell you that you’ll get $100 in 10 days, or have the option to get half of it ($50) if you collect it immediately, what are the concerns in your mind, and what will you choose?
If I were to tell you that you’ll get $50 now, or choose to wait 10 days to get $50 more, what will your decision be?
In this one way trip called life that will be full of choices and decisions, what is it that will be on your mind reminding you what your preferences should be? Instant or delayed gratification?
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.