Delayed self gratification is absolutely crucial to turning your financial situation around. Why? Because it immediately alters your mindset by training it to learn how to wait and behave. If delayed self gratification is a foreign concept to you, I wouldn't be surprised at all. Given the nature of our economy and spending habits as a nation, it is quite obvious
that we have never even heard of, much less practiced this habit.
First, let's define self gratification.
Self gratification is to see something that you want/need and to give yourself what you want, when you want it; which is RIGHT NOW. You do this because you have convinced yourself that you are worthy, entitled and deserving of that item.
Delayed self gratification means to see something that you want or need and resist the temptation to purchase it right away. Instead, you will develop and prioritize a plan that allows time and money to work in a pre-determined time frame so that you can obtain the desired item.
Delayed self gratification has to be at the forefront of your mind daily in order for it to be effective. In fact, the most ideal and beneficial time for you to adopt this principle is as a child. If you are a parent, I highly encourage you to start stewarding your children into delayed self gratification now (The younger, the better).
Children tend to be pre-programmed to have a sense of entitlement when it comes to their desires, and they want them right away:
"Mommy, I want this doll!"
"Daddy, can you take me to get some ice cream?"
"Mom, Dad, Billy just rode his brand new bike to school! I want one too!"
Sound familiar? As parents, we tend to want our children to have more than what we had, especially those that grew up poor and didn't have all of the materialistic things. Therefore, we show our children "love" by givng them what they want, without telling them no. As this behavior continues, the child grows to expect the things that they want instantly.
Picture this scenario:
A little girl is in the store and wants a baby doll. You tell her no. The little girl starts screaming and crying about how she wants her doll. At first, you ignore it. But after 5 mins of a meltdown, people are starting to stare at you two.
What would you do?
A. Give in and buy her the doll so that she can stop screaming.
B. Stick to your guns and refuse to buy the doll.
Many people would go with option A, which is to buy the doll for the screaming child. What's interesting about this scenario is that both the parent AND the child are giving themselves the immediate self gratification: The child is immediately getting her doll and the parent is immediately getting some peace. However, this gratification is going to be short-lived, and only last as long as it takes for the child to desire something else. Since her crying has been so effective in getting her everything that she wants, do you think that she will stop? No. This behavior will continue as long as the parent allows it to. Typically, by the time the parent realizes the error in their ways, it is far too late and the damage has already been done. Now, since this child has been raised to instantly get whatever she wants; she is a perfect target for credit cards, paydays loans and rent-a-center stores.
However, in order for the parent and child to have the long term benefit of responsible financial habits, the parent should have chosen option B, which is to refuse to buy the doll. By doing this, the parent will be teaching the child a very valuable lesson about not getting what he/she wants all the time. Instead, the parent can say the following:
"I am not going to buy you the doll because I do not reward bad behavior. However, if you truly want the doll, what are you willing to do to earn it?"
By taking this approach, you are not necessarily saying NO, but you are saying, 'Not right now'; which is applying the delayed self gratification in that moment. Then, have the child tell YOU how they are going to earn that doll; good behavior in school, chores, being nicer to her classmates, etc. When the child is telling you how they will earn that doll, they understand that not only do they have to wait and work for it: but now they are ACCOUNTABLE to fulfill their actions, since they are the ones that came up with the plan. Then, when they are finally able to get the doll, they will appreciate it and take excellent care of it!
Over time, as you consistently steward your children into financial wisdom, you will be planting seeds of prosperity into them that will manefest once they are adults. By training their mindsets as children and helping them to understand and value money; you will be passing on an inheritance of prosperity and financial freedom.
Proverbs 13:22 says, "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous."
Most people think that an inheiritance is financial, but that isn't always true. The most common forms of an inheiritance is one that everyone gives to their children, no matter what their economic standing is: their mindset.
The mindset of how the parents handle their finances will be passed on to the child.The mindset will ultimately determine financial freedom or financial ruin. Chances are that if you are in poverty, your parents were in poverty, as well as your grandparents and so on.
The good news is that you can break this cycle by adopting the principle of delayed self gratification in your daily life! If you can wait for it, then hold off on buying it right away. Put that money into savings and let it grow for a couple of months. Also, if it is a big ticket item that would require you to make payments, don't get it. Instead, stash away a certain amount each month and then buy it when you have the money to pay in full. In many cases, you will then be able to find the big ticket item cheaper, and then you will have more of your money to keep!
So here's to making better decisions today, so that we will have a better tomorrow!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!