Success Mantra Delayed Gratification

Since childhood, we are all expected to learn ways and traits that will eventually spell success in later life. It is like the entire childhood being your playground culminating into the final plan for adulthood success. 

Everybody wants to be successful. No one wants to be a failure. 

Although failure is critical, we always try and condition ourselves to work and look out only for success. This, however, gets confusing and pretty overwhelming to a little child who is still trying to understand how to use his hands!  

Success means different things to different people. It could mean standing on their own 2 feet as a child… scoring good numbers in their teenage years… securing a high-paying job as a young adult… owning a house, a car, and a good family in middle age… to (again) standing on their 2 feet as an Octogenarian!

Success is a subjective concept highly dictated by socioeconomic conditioning, personal goals, cultural beliefs, and life experiences. For some, it means professional accomplishments, while for some, it could mean just a good night’s sleep. For some, it means having close-knit relationships or positively impacting someone’s life, while for others, it may lie in amassing wealth and fortune. 

Whatever it is, it is deeply personal yet very, very important. No wonder, then, that everyone is looking for shortcuts to success. Everyone is seeking the secret to getting there quickly, and why not? After all, you got just one life – ‘You live only Once, right?’

Just as everyone defines success, everyone has their secret ways to get there. While I still don’t consider myself as ‘successful,’ life’s experiences did present a sneak peek into the ‘possible’ mantra of success. So let me share it with you today…


Yup. In times of instant gratification, delayed gratification seems totally out of place! 

While instant gratification seems to be the norm of the day, it harms your success. Instant gratification can hurt you in several ways, reducing your motivation to work harder and longer for more extensive and rewarding goals. In addition, it constantly entices you to seek pleasure now than later. This is a deterrent to your focus and keeps you in the loop of being comfortable now than sweating it out for a bigger and better reward later. You know, most FMCG, convenience, and luxury goods companies bank upon and feed your need for instant gratification to make a fortune for themselves?

They play on your basic human instincts. According to Freud’s “Pleasure Principle,” humans are naturally wired to seek immediate pleasure and avoid pain. This is why children seek instant gratification. However, this is not how things pan out for an adult. Instant gratification leads to poor impulse control, addictive and impulsive behaviours, and frustration and anger when you do not instantly get what you want.

As against this, delayed gratification and the final big reward you worked for pay off in innumerable ways. For example, let’s say you control your impulse to cheat on your diet plan and give in to the temptation of ‘indulging in the rich, creamy goodness of a chocolate ice cream’ to have it only on your cheat day versus ‘now,’ you reap the benefits of better health and achieving your diet goals. This has worked towards your final destination of sticking to your diet and helped you exercise better impulse control and self-discipline. 

In obvious and not-so-obvious ways, our parents have demonstrated the benefits of delayed gratification in our daily life. ‘’Finish your homework, and I will give you two chocolates instead of one!” – heard this from your parent? Yeah…. This was their demonstration and lesson to teach you delayed gratification!

A famous experiment conducted in the late 1960s and the early 70s called the Marshmallow experiment is a great measure.

The MARSHMALLOW Experiment

In the experiment, little children were offered a choice between a small immediate reward now, i.e., a marshmallow, or a larger reward, i.e., two marshmallows, if they were willing to wait till the teacher returned. Then, the teacher would leave the room, and the child would be left alone with the treat. Then, the children were instructed to eat the smaller reward at any time, but if they waited until the teacher returned, they would receive a more significant compensation. 

Unsurprisingly, some children jumped at the opportunity in favour of instant gratification. At the same time, some resisted but eventually gave in, and then some could practice self-control and waited till the teacher returned.

This experiment followed these children’s lives for a while, and the study results were an eye-opener. It showed that the children who could delay gratification and wait for the larger reward had better life outcomes in later years. They had higher SAT scores, higher educational qualifications, better social skills, and on average, were more successful than their instant-gratified counterparts!

In your adult life, too, there are numerous examples of delayed gratification’s benefits. Take your stock market investments, for example; there are times when the market is going yo-yo, and you feel like selling an entire stock at the highest price for the day… but you resist the temptation and find that the stock has gone higher and higher over years of holding. Of course, there are other things at play in a typical bourse. However, if you were to trust the investment boss ‘Warren Buffet,’ he credits much of his success to his ability to delay gratification. According to him, by postponing the temptation to sell the stocks for short-term gain, he could reap the long-term benefits of his investments, eventually making him the ‘Tzar’ of wall street!

Delayed gratification teaches you self-control, impulse regulation, self-discipline, patience, the ability to manage your emotions, and a capacity to tolerate discomfort while working hard toward your final goal. 

Isn’t this the exact recipe for SUCCESS?


Veena Gupta, a homemaker, doting mother, and a loving wife, who takes pride in a long-standing career in Banking and Finance. While her life took shape and as she was pursuing all this, something kept tugging her creativity. This pull lead her to decide to express her thoughts through writing. True to her name, her words flow from her pen to resonate with the reader’s mind like the soothing music that the musical instrument Veena creates! For someone who likes to experiment in life through adventure sports, trekking, and other varied interests, Veena likes to bring her experience, background and perspective to her readers through her simple yet effective writing to push the fact home!

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One thought on “Success Mantra Delayed Gratification

  1. So nicely penned. The mantra for success is based on how well can you control your urge to achieve it.
    Keep writing, Keep inspiring.

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