Category Archives: Delayed Gratification


Is Your Compass Broken?

When I was in Boy Scouts, we had to do a lot of merit badges.

One of the cool ones was compass reading.

Me and a buddy did it when we were camping in the desert.

For part of the exercise, we had to follow a long set of instructions, each of which involved going a certain distance in a certain direction.

It had been set up before, and if we followed the instructions correctly, we would get to the right point eventually.

After five or six turns, and walking carefully, we eventually found the “prize” and got our badge.

Many things that seem mysterious can be explained by science.

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart may be one of these.

A seasoned flier, (first woman to fly across the pacific) one day she just vanished.

One theory is that if her directional compass was only off by a small percent, that would mean missing a crucial refueling point.

Maybe believe she ran out of gas and crashed into the ocean.

An unfortunate example of what happens if you go off course just a little bit.

Most people, though, don’t really have a course.

Imagine if you got on a plane, and all the pilot did was look out the window and hope he recognized certain mountains to find his way.

This may work if you were flying small planes of familiar territory, but if you were flying across the ocean, it would be very foolish.

Sadly, most people live their lives like this.

Not only do they NOT have direction, but they don’t really have a system in place to measure their progress.

It would be like me and my buddy trying to get our merit badge by walking in random directions for random lengths and hoping we’d get something at the end.

Even during the gold rush, people knew they had to keep going west, toward the rising sun.

What about you?

Do you know which direction your life is going?

Do you have a feedback system in place, to measure your progress, and to tell if you are off course or on course?

Even if you don’t, all you’ve got to do is get started.

As you make forward progress, you’ll learn valuable information that will let you know.

And you’ll also learn what skills you might need to keep going forward a lot faster.

The more skills you pick up along the way, the more directions you’ll find that will help you become successful.

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Big Picture

Simple Steps – Huge Results

A lot of famous statements are taken out of context.

Like the famous one from Shakespeare where one of his character said, “kill all the lawyers.”

Many people use that today as prove that lawyers are evil, and always have been.

But the context of how it was used was the opposite. The character was talking about how to destroy a society.

Since civilized society is based on laws, if you kill all the lawyers, they’ll be nobody left who understand the law, and society will descend into chaos.

Another famous saying that is often misunderstood is PT Barnum’s, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Most people attribute this to people who are taking advantage of poor innocent people like pensioners and old ladies.

But the whole context of the statement is there’s a sucker born every minute, because each sucker is trying to further take advantage of others.

Meaning the easiest people to take advantage are those who are always trying to take advantage of others, or looking at some “shortcut” so they can get the good stuff without having to do the work that “honest people” need to do.

Get rich quick, lose fifty pounds in one week, make money in real estate with no money down, etc.

But there ARE some simple statements, easy to understand, that DO tell us eternal truths.

And these same statements and simple stories have been around for thousands of years.

Aesop’s fables are one such source.

Taking on the attitude of the turtle will generally help you, in the long run, more than the rabbit.

Sure, we all want to race ahead and get the good stuff before everybody else.

But while some people are busily chasing each and every shiny new object, or jumping on each and every fad, there’s also people like the turtle who are slowly and steadily going after some HUGE goals.

And getting a little bit closer every day.

If you set HUGE goals, WAY out there, and make thinking about them part of your daily life, you will have purpose.

You’ll never feel lost. You’ll always believe there’s SOMETHING you can do to get closer.

One thing you can do to make ANY goal easier to achieve is improve how you think.

Just like doing general physical exercises will help you in any sport.

Working on your brain will help you in ALL areas of life.

The sum total of your life is the result of your daily habits and behaviors.

Your daily habits and behaviors are based on the quality of your thinking.

Change how well you think, change everything.

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Delayed Gratification

Save For A Rainy Day

​Many disciplines have things called “best practices.” 

Meaning they are things you do that aren’t always important in and of themselves, at least in the moment.

But they are VERY important in the long run.

For example, coders see writing plenty of comments within their code as a “best practice.”

Not that it makes the program run any better, it just makes it MUCH easier later on, if they need to go back and tweak anything.

If you are a gun enthusiast, a “best practice” would be to always clear your weapon (make sure there’re no bullets) before handling it or showing it to others. Even if you consciously remember that there’re no bullets, it’s still a VERY good idea, because otherwise you might forget and kill somebody.

Most “best practices” are closely related to certain disciplines.

But there are also “best practices” when building a successful life.

Delayed gratification is one of these. A very important one.

Think of the NOW you and the FUTURE you.

If you enjoy all your pleasure NOW, you won’t have anything in the future. That’s fine if you’re pretty confident that you’ll ALWAYS find something good.

But that’s a pretty risky assumption.

The idea of “saving something for the future” is built into our DNA. Otherwise our bodies wouldn’t be so adept at taking consumed energy and storing it for future use.

A more “modern” version of this would be to save money. Plenty of books speak about creating several different savings accounts. One for bills. One for fun. One for education. One for any future unknowns.

Many people are put off by this. “I can barely pay the rent! How the heck am I supposed to create a savings account for vacation! I can’t even afford a bus ticket!”

Here’s the thing. Even if you ONLY save a nickel a month, in each of the above categories, it will send a very POWERFUL message to your subconscious.

That you are taking your future SERIOUSLY. That you are taking your dreams SERIOUSLY. That you’re not just rattling off a bunch of wishes, and waiting for the magic fairy to come and give you free stuff.

Once your subconscious realizes you’re SERIOUS, your mind will shift. You’ll see opportunities you never even noticed before. You’ll think in ways you never thought of before. New ideas for making money, getting in shape, finding a relationship, etc., will start popping into your brain.

Like magic!

Only it won’t be magic, it will only seem like it.

Take action, and trust your subconscious.

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Are You Stealing From Your Future?

Are You Stealing From Your Future?

Which One Of You Benefits?

​Some of the most helpful questions come from the field of economics.

Now, most people imagine that economics is some kind of advanced mathematical study.

And if you listen to the economists who work for the government, they sure try and make it seem like this.

I even read an article (written by an economist) who tried to get another article published in some of the mainstream economic journals, with no success. He’d written the article in very simple terms, so that anybody could understand it.

And it was rejected by all the publications.

Then he took the SAME article, the SAME ideas, and made them sound incredibly complicated and used a bunch of unneeded mathematical formulae. 

And it was ACCEPTED by the same publications.

To understand why, here’s a joke:

A hiring manager interviewed three people, a mathematician, an engineer, and an economist. He asked each one what “one plus one” was.

The mathematician looked at him like he was crazy and said, “two.”

The Engineer stroked his chin and said, “Hmm, well that depends on the constraints of the system and various other unknown variables.”

The economist smiled, looked at him and said, “Well, what do you WANT it to be equal to?”

The joke being, of course, that economists can use all kind of mumbo jumbo to make up a bunch of intelligent sounding bullcrap.

But back to the original questions.

Or the original idea. That REAL economics is always based on human action.

And human action is ALWAYS subjective, and ALWAYS involves choice.

And one of those questions is, “At what cost?”

Politicians HATE this question.

But as individuals intending on creating the best life we can, we MUST ask ourselves this question, if we want keep ourselves honest.

Sure, it’s fun to sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream. But at what cost?

What are you missing out on? What OTHER things could you be doing? How would THEY benefit you? Would they benefit you MORE (in the long or short run) than sitting on the couch?

And famous economic question is, “Who benefits?”

If there’s any funny stuff going on, a good way to find out what’s REALLY going on is to ask, “Who benefits?”

How can you apply this to yourself?

Imagine yourself today, or over the next week.

Imagine yourself a year from now. Five years from now. Ten years from now.

Imagine all of your selves, now and in the future.

Next time you are thinking of doing something (sitting on the couch or building your empire), ask yourself:

“Who benefits?”

The NOW you, or the FUTURE you?

Few people make an effort to plan their future with any conscious or rational thought.

But those that DO, generally have MUCH better lives.

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Can You Get Rich Eating Ice Cream?

You Need To Look Past Instant Gratification

Look Into Your Future

Economists tell us that humans became civilized when we learned to delay gratification.

Meaning when we started taking our activities and measured them not only against how they would affect our “right now” lives, but how they’d affect our “out in the future” lives.

Lower animals are simply incapable of doing this. They are driven purely by instincts.

If we allow ourselves to be driven by instinct, we usually don’t end up so well.

In front of the couch, glued to the TV, stuffing our face endlessly with processed food.

Not thinking how this will affect us out into the future.

Now, there’s certainly a case that that’s precisely what “they” want us to do.

Those that stand to make money and political power from our weakness.

Maybe, maybe not. You can certainly make yourself crazy by thinking like that.

However, there IS benefit in thinking out in the future when considering acting now.

This is certainly not automatic. It does take some practice.

But remember the words of Ben Franklin. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.”

That simple, often discarded statement may indeed be the gateway to wealth.

Because in that greeting card logic lies truth.

The more you delay gratification, putting off small pleasure NOW for a much bigger pleasure LATER, the more money you’ll make. The healthier you’ll be. The smarter you’ll be.

How do you do that?

You bring that future pleasure into the “now.”

Thinking about that bowl of ice cream, in front of you, gives you a BIG and IMMEDIATE sense of pleasure.

One that doesn’t require much thought.

But consider taking some time to IMAGINE a much BETTER pleasure out in the future.

Imagine having a six pack. Imagine all those sexy people checking out your sexy body. Imagine somehow that you can see them thinking, as they look at you, “Damn! I want some of that!”

Build up that imagination of a FUTURE PLEASURE until it is stronger than the NOW pleasure.

So the choice to delay gratification becomes automatic.

Granted, this takes some time. Some dedication. Some mental discipline.

Things most people simply do not have.

But considering the things that most people do not get, you can maybe see it’s a good idea to start doing the things that most people do not do.

And start getting WAY MORE than the average ice-creaming eating couch-rider.

No matter what you want, you can get.

If you’re willing to DO WHAT IT TAKES to get it.