Delayed gratification. Oof. Scary stuff, right?
Honestly, I think they are probably two of the most important words that Millennials should be focusing on while we are all still young. Learning how to practice delayed gratification was the key factor in the small amounts of success I've had so far in life.
My zeroed out student loan balance, a full year of salary safety net, and now potential $120,000+ income (from a website no less) are all products of learning how to……wait.
Don't worry – Delayed gratification can be temporary
*GASP* – yes. It's true. Delayed gratification is just a tool to get you to higher stages in life, and it doesn't have to be deployed endlessly. I live significantly better than I did 5 years ago when my wife and I were living at her parent's house. I'll live significantly better 5 years from now when I'm not paying myself just $1,800 a month from a $10,000+ a month business.
I think there are a few reasons that millennials want instant everything, and are rarely cool with waiting for things to happen in life:
1. The Internet
Our formative years included the internet, and more specifically Google. If there's anything I want to see, place I want to find, or fact I need to prove you wrong – I can have it in about 10 seconds.
I truly believe that this bleeds into almost every aspect of our lives, and is a leading factor in the reason that the vast majority of young people suck at being patient with their money (or anything else).
It's that one thing that is underlying in almost every aspect of our lives, and we are both blind to it and completely influenced by it at the same time. I'm obviously part of the guilty party with the ads I have on the site, my marketing company, as well as my aggressive Facebook advertising for M$M.
Regardless of if we like it or not, advertising is a part of life. People and companies pay GOOD money to get you to do things now rather than later, which is another reason delayed gratification is tough to master.
I think the key to being less influenced by advertising and less likely to make gut financial decisions is to be hyper aware of it (which is what I try to do – ask my wife how hard it is to sit through a movie with me calling out every product placement I see).
3. Lack of Perspective
This one is hard, right? How in the world could someone like me expect young people to have wisdom beyond their years. I wasn't born with more perspective than the average person – I learned it.
Many of my closest friends are MUCH older than me. Some people might think that's weird, but I literally don't care. I hang out with millionaires and pick their brains while other people shotgun beers at parties. It's just how I roll. 🙂
If you haven't yet – take some time and try to find some accomplished mentors. When I first started M$M, one of the first posts and I guess the “foundation” of the message that I wanted to push was learning from people with experience. You can read it here.
So what's the key to mastering delayed gratification?
I gave a couple hints above – but in my opinion the number one thing you can do to grow more patient is to observe more and act less.
It sounds stupidly simple, but there are so many times that I notice people are quick to act and slow to listen and watch (and hopefully learn). The reason I paid off my loans early is because I took advice from a mentor. That simple.
The reason I saved up money is because I watched all of the people around me live paycheck to paycheck on decent salaries while driving nice cars. I decided that was a bad idea.
I have built a business from absolutely nothing because I immersed myself in listening to successful people and information. Working pretty well, right?
Also – you have to be cool with having less than your peers
This is the point that I pound over and over again on M$M. The everyday people that are killing it with their money are the ones that let the people in their lives pass them up. It's hard to get used to at first, but it only takes a few years of really making sacrifices to blow past anyone you know financially.