2 words, 8 syllables.  Delayed gratification… What exactly is gratification, how does one delay it, and why is doing so beneficial?  Yeesh — do you have a headache?  Me too.  Let’s break it down.  

Take this example.  

Instant gratification: picture yourself pulling up to the Starbucks drive-thru with a crisp $5 bill in hand.  You buy yourself that new overpriced S’mores Frappucino you’re mid-afternoon brain is telling you you need now now now!!  You take a sip and all your fears and worries melt away and you drift into a sugary bliss.  But your $5 is gone.  Spent. Tossed into the hands of a barista.  Yikes.

Delayed gratification: you forego the Frappucino and instead brew a cup o’joe at home or work.  You shove the $5 in your piggy bank to put towards your BMW savings, throw a Splenda into your home brew, sip, and smile. 

So basically, the gist is this: do you want a little now or a lot more later?

By delaying gratification, you can save yourself a lot of cash, boost your willpower and more quickly achieve your long-term goals.  Specifically, delaying gratification is a great skill to acquire when working towards career objectives.

But…How do we stick to our goals?  How do we deny ourselves that sugary, caffeine-filled 16 oz cup of Starbucks deliciousness?  

Number 1: Factor in fun when choosing how you plan to achieve your work-related goals.  If you enjoy the task you’re doing, or the work environment you’re in, you are more likely to stick with it in the long run.
Number 2: Sprinkle in a few immediate benefits whilst in pursuit of long-term objectives.  Listen to music while working, nibble on some fruit snacks, or scribble in your planner in 6 different shades of pink pens.
Number 3: focus on the positive.  Reflect on the good, throw out the bad.  Make your work experience as positive as it can be.  Your situation is all about your mindset.

All in all, don’t make your life horrible just for the sake of achieving a long-term goal.  While delaying gratification can lead to prosperity, the here and the now is also important — reaping benefits immediately doesn’t always have to take away from your future ambitions.  It’s all a balancing act — so, instead of wasting $5 on that Frappucino every day, treat yourself once a week!  Or, in my case, treating myself means running by the Village Grind for an iced americano on the way to work at DFS Creative Concepts.