What lesson can or have you been taught by a chicken or any animal? If you haven’t, I have. The priceless lesson of delayed gratification.
In 2010, my mother traveled to her hometown, in the western part of Nigeria. The tradition is that a guest will always be welcomed with a chicken, and a chicken soup will be cooked for the guest. This tradition and the ensuing events will form the foundation of my understanding of delayed gratification forever.
This is a personal experience and I’m ‘gonna share it with you today.
As my mom traveled, I didn’t know her return will bring about the start of a lesson which will be made known to me eight years later.
My mum didn’t eat her chicken, in fact, she didn’t allow the chicken to be killed. We live in Lagos, so she brought it back, that’s a far distance, but that didn’t deter her, she went all the way, brought the chicken back.
It was one hell of an experience. I don’t know what to call this chicken, a pet or what? But my mum decided to train it. I hated seeing it. When returning from school then, I got angry at seeing it.
In a short time, my mom was infected by my “virus”, she got tired too. Then it was my dad who took the charge and made sure the chicken survived.
Before I knew it, the chicken had laid some few eggs, and then, she got some chicks. I got angrier.
I hated the thought of one chicken around me, and now, five, ten, fifteen…etc? Damn it! Worse of all, the mother hen was thriving, growing well and reproducing well.
As much as I hated her(the chicken), I enjoyed eating her egg and I also very much enjoy eating chicken soup. I love chicken!
Fast forward to twenty eighteen, my mum now has a mini poultry, she has given out a lot of chicken, a few eggs to play with daily, and enough chicken to eat every other weekend.
I was amazed as I visited home (I no longer live with them), a few weeks back and there was chicken soup waiting for me, and my favorite part of a chicken was handed to me.
What lesson did you learn from my story?
I learned the lesson of delayed gratification in all these.
I found that if you delayed a minute pleasure and plant your seed, you would reap the reward in due time.
It was easier for her to have eaten her chicken alone and enjoyed herself, however, she went the other way.
What is delayed gratification?
Delayed gratification in a sentence is simply postponing pleasures of today for greater rewards tomorrow. It is simply planting your seeds for tomorrow. Instead of eating your seed now, you plant it to reap bigger and better rewards tomorrow.
“Eat shit for 24 months, so you can eat caviar for the rest of your life” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Delayed gratification psychology also apply to other parts of our lives and we will look into it in the following paragraphs, but before then, here is a proof that delayed gratification is critically important in the life of an individual.
Gary Vaynerchuk puts it this way, Eat shit for 24 months, so you can eat caviar for the rest of your life.
The marshmallow test
A professor at the University of Stanford carried out a small but very important test to show how delayed gratification is a key to success. The test is called the marshmallow test.
The study was led by the psychologist, Professor Walter Mischel, He studied kids who were offered a small reward now, or two small rewards if the kid waited for a few minutes (the giver usually left the room for a few minutes).
It was discovered that the children who waited for the few minutes before they got their reward always got better results later on in life. Their all-around life was always better and they’re always happier too.
Children who wait have been found to make better choices and achieved more later on in life. This test often carried out using a marshmallow, hence the name Marshmallow test.
Delayed gratification – how does it apply to college, students and studies?
It is no secret instant gratification is an enemy of studies and good grades. When a student refuses to sacrifice the pleasure of the moment for his/her studies, he is bound to fail, that’s simple enough, isn’t it? Great, delayed gratification is very important to improving the lives of students.
How does delayed gratification help in financial planning?
Delayed gratification is a sign of maturity. You are matured when you start taking your finance and financial life serious. For those who want to start taking finance seriously, first, you must learn to cancel instant gratification.
If you observe in the story I told above, you’d realize seeds are for planting and not for eating. In planning your finance, you should know the difference between your wants and needs, avoid ostentatious spending and spending to feel among the crowd.
The rich spend out of their abundance, but the poor spend from their lack. Delayed gratification is one of the ways to resist temptation. If you don’t want to spend out of your lack, you must resist the temptation of spending at will. The first few little funds you get are for reinvesting and not for spending, that is the long and short of it all.
If we look into our daily lives, we will see areas where we can apply the lessons and get better results in the long run. It is of course not as easy as it sounds, but with time, practice and conscious effort, there will be positive results.
We have found that delayed gratification in a sentence is, putting off for tomorrow what we would have enjoyed today. We have also seen that it is a sign of maturity to practice the same and according to the marshmallow test, delayed gratification helps children become better adults, it even does apply to college results and success.
The saying that “little drops of water make an ocean” is a practical example of delayed gratification.
In the end, if we must reap rewards from our small contributions, if we must get results from the little we do on a daily basis, we must learn to practice delayed gratification.
What is your take on this? Is it worth practicing or you’d rather enjoy the moment? What do you think of the Stanford marshmallow experiment and the idea of instant gratification? We want to learn from your ideas in the comment area below, kindly leave a comment and let’s learn from you too.
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