Tag Archives: instant gratification

The Tortoise and the Hare

Slow and steady wins the race.

That’s what we’ve always been told and the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare reinforces that.

Why do we need a whole bunch of moral-based stories to tell us the blindingly obvious?

Because it goes against our innate nature to pass over something that gives us instant gratification in favour of a bigger long term benefit.

When studying the decision making process in The Decisive moment Lehrer came across a study where people were offered a sum of money right now or sum of money 3 times bigger in 3 weeks time. Most took the money right now.

Because that’s what we need. Something right now.

When we are setting New Years Resolutions we tend to set them for things we are going to start in January, rather than what we want to have achieved by the end of the year.

When we are desperate to lose weight we want to see instant results from whatever approach we use and will often err towards that in the form of extreme diets in favour of slower steadier permanent weight loss.

Given the choice to pay £5 a week for years or £150 as a once off up front – most people will choose £5 a week.

Banks now show interest on savings monthly rather than an annual statement like you used to get. Current accounts allow you to generate interest because it’s easier to accept “saving” money you can get your hands on right now than money that might be locked away for a few months.

Our brain needs to see/feel/understand/hear results of anything we set out to do to believe it is possible.

To keep going without immediate results? That takes determination and belief.

It is possible to beat your brain. To beat your innate tendency towards instant gratification but you need to consciously take action.

Try these steps.

1. Think of the future you as a hologram or image. By future I mean at least 1 year ahead of now.

2. Close your eyes and notice everything about that person. If you were a fly on the wall what would you notice about them? Where are they? What is around them? How do they look? What are they wearing?

3. Think about the skills and capabilities you have that make that you in the future possible e.g. Strength, determination, creativity, technical skills.

4. If there was a colour or even an object that represented the person in the future what might it be? Some people might say a tiger, or a rock or just red or yellow or a cube or anything. Whatever comes to mind first.

So this is your goal. The person you want to become. You can think of it like a beacon if you like – something to point your conscious and subconscious mind at as the person you want to become.

And now, when you think about the things you need to do to get there it doesn’t matter if you start them tomorrow or in 6 months time because that goal is far enough in the future that instant gratification doesn’t count for anything.

Each single action, each single step,  that takes you towards the person you want to become is success.

So what are you going to do next?

And if you need my help because something is getting in the way of that person you know you can be just email dawn@thinkitchangeit.com and we’ll see what we can do together.