The Key Factor to Success|Benefits of “Delayed Gratification”

An Introvert's Garden Library
7 min readAug 11, 2021

Wise Library 1985 |Margaret W. Lavigne

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Do we have the patience for something which is worth fighting for? In the route to our life targets, greater targets usually take more time and effort for sure. Delay of gratification is the act of delaying immediate pleasure or available rewards for a bigger purpose in the hope of achieving a more valuable reward or bigger tremendous returns in the future, which demands high execution of self-control, positive hopeful thinking, and patience. A wealth of researches advocate that those who practice delayed gratification benefit in all sorts of ways. I would say, those who are able to delay gratification are those who are willing to take challenges for something which might take years to grow.

Stress, especially chronic stress, impairs our ability to delay gratification. Delayed gratification means resisting something you want immediately in exchange for a greater reward later. Those who master delayed gratification are those who are willing to tolerate discomfort by believing a greater purpose or a greater reward.

Studies show that delayed gratification is one of the most evident personal traits of those who are being successful in a career. Generally, only those who learn how to manage their desires, impulses and dissatisfaction and meanwhile execute high self-discipline are able to build a good life.

The Marshmallow Experiment

In a study published in 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel set up a psychological experiment with children who ranged between 3 to 5. Mischel’s team told the kids that those who waited for another 15 minutes would get one extra marshmallow and those who couldn’t wait would only have one marshmallow. The researchers found the children who controlled their impulses and got another marshmallow performed better in schools with greater self-confidence and were less likely to struggle with drug problems in life.

I would say, those who practice delayed gratification are those who are good at controlling their impulses with higher self-discipline. For instance, people with high self-discipline are less likely to cheat and less likely to abuse their bodies by habitual binge eating. People with low self-discipline are more likely to suffer from regrets because people with low self-discipline are less likely to become better me. Altogether, mastering delayed gratification helps boost our self-confidence by knowing that we have the ability to fully control our desires and impulses.

Example of Delayed Gratification
1. saving for that future dream house.
2. Avoid binge eating for the sake of health

Q: Why is “delayed gratification” important to Success?

I would say, delayed gratification is the manifestation of our self-control and self-restraint. Only those who are able to discipline themselves will avoid binge eating, unhealthy snacks, impulses, and temptations. Also, delayed gratification is highly associated with the ability to bear uncertainty.

Greatness, Patience, and Success

Rationalize frustrations for the big goals. Career success and interpersonal relationships demand time to nurture love and trust. Coach Wooden says that “I have patience and on the other side I have faith.” He viewed patience as an essential factor in achieving success. Greatness takes time. Patience is the key to success.

“The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain the habits associated with it.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits

Tremendous Cost of Impatience

As people seek instant reward or instant gratification, they are more likely to make regretful decisions. Impatience clouds our judgments and stops us from making thoughtful sound decisions. Being impatient, we tend to make short-sighted decisions.

Impatience will develop into a habit or even a personal trait, so is patience. It’s worth noting that impatience potentially leads to irritability. People who lack patience have little tolerance for frustration and are more likely to suffer from depression. Thus, people who lack patience are more easily to quit what they want out of life. As a person gives up all the things he/she does care about, he/she loses energy, enthusiasm, and hope unconsciously or lot. Patience gives us hope and courage to fight for the things we want out of life. Impatience occurs due to a lack of understanding, wisdom, and insight.

Patience helps nurture persistence, motivation and stay hopeful during the hard times. Patience ensures increased satisfaction in life. Being patient helps us staying out of negative emotions. Patience increases our tolerance for frustrations.

People have difficulty waiting patiently for what they want out of life, such as success in business. Due to the mainstream mass media, the general public tends to believe in the early success or easy success. It takes time or even years to master a certain skill. Expertise and career success don’t accomplish overnight. It takes time to develop and actualize a new project.

Be Patient with Little Progress

Be patient with little progress, no matter how slow it goes. Trust in your capacity to deal with whatever comes your way.

Are you willing to sweat over something you love or something you believe without any material feedback? It’s worth noting that patience helps maintain our enthusiasm and industriousness when pursuing any life targets. Life revolved around uncertainty. The only thing we can control is one’s motive, effort, faith, and persistence. Discernment is knowing which are things worthy of our time and effort.

Rationalize Adversity

Impatience potentially leads to anxiety and surrender. It demands great patience and faith in achieving anything worthwhile. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.” As Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” In the book Practical Modern Basketball, Coach Wooden wrote: “Lack of patience is possibly the greatest fault of the beginning coach. Don’t expect too much. Progress comes slowly in many respects. The formation of new habits and the breaking of old are no quick-change propositions.”

Impatience and Anxiety

It feels good to know that our hard work paid off. Toiling with the right motive and right methods matters. People expect immediate desired results. We are living in an age with a low tolerance for frustration. We rarely want to bear frustrations in the route to the end result. This impatience occurs due to the void of wisdom. People seem to want things to happen too quickly. People are trapped by the myth of overnight success.

People behave irritably or feel agitated about various frustrations due to an inability to delay gratification. Negative emotions bring out the worst in us. Frustration Happens. Pessimism sabotages our willpower and leads to procrastination. Negative emotions make us irritable, hostile, making us tense. What is assured, both impatience and anxiety sabotage our concentration and productivity.

Pleasure Principle

Pleasure is a driving force for sure. The term “pleasure principle” originates from Freudian psychoanalysis, which refers to the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain for the satisfaction of biological and psychological needs. For sure, our desires can’t always be gratified.

How to master through delayed gratification?

1. Think through the consequences of choices. Avoid rash decisions.

Controlling our impulses helps us build a healthier and happier and more productive life for sure.

2. Focus on the rewards as you are being impatient or impulsive.


Comparing to pleasure, inner peace and hope are central to our survival.

Take Advice from the Bible

Indeed, the Bible highly values the power and importance of temperance and self-discipline. Also, laziness and anger are included in the seven deadly sins. According to the Bible, those who fail to control their anger display folly, and those who are being lazy doom to bear hunger and poverty. According to the Bible, our gifts given by God is our prophecy.

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Classic Inspirational Quotes on Success & Achievement

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become…but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy.― James Clear, Atomic Habits

“The primary reason the brain remembers the past is to better predict what will work in the future.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” — Einstein

“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” — Twain

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” — Peale

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” — Thatcher

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” — Rand

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”* — eller

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” — Keller