Living The Good Life with Deferred Gratification
Grow Your Patience For Personal Finance
Where do you want to go in life? What will bring you true joy? In what circumstances do you see yourself in the next year or in five years? You can envision or dream about anything that you want! The question is how are you going to get there? How will you grow your patience for a better financial life?
First, you have to know where you are going. You must create a very clear picture of what you want in your future. Becoming clear about your desires will bring your goal into sharp focus.
Sometimes, you will find there is something that you want so passionately, that you can see it, feel it, or taste it. You are so ready to tackle every obstacle and wrestle them out of the way so that you can achieve your goal.
You want to quickly arrive at the destination that you are dreaming of. That could be buying a new house or taking an exotic vacation.
However, the journey itself and the overcoming of obstacles is what gives reaching your final destination all of the meaning.
Growing patience for a better financial life will help you get going where you want in grand style and increase your happiness during the trip!
The secret to a successful journey is cultivating patience!
There are people who will just default into impatience. I would say the majority of people are naturally impatient especially during our modern times. They are used to getting most of the things they want in a snap of their fingers.
Past generations were forced to be patient.
Imagine life 100 years ago. Convenience had been slowly progressing and relative to the past. The convenience store hadn’t been born yet, nor had the Federal Highway Act been signed.
Modes of grooming, cooking, travel, and shopping all took time and effort.
Back then, you didn’t have to grow your patience, it was developed intrinsically!
That is not the case today!
Sure, everything in our life still takes effort, but it’s now “on demand”. We have instant everything. Amazon delivers in record time. The United States Postal Service is hot to compete. In most places, there are stores and restaurants open 24/7.
What about you?
Are you impatient when you are buying something or reaching your destination on a trip? I believe impatience only creates only more of the same.
You distract yourself with your ever handy phone or find a substitute until the real thing you want is available (or is delivered).
You don’t even notice the scenery, enjoy the smells or pay real attention to your own companions.
It becomes a habit.
You just want to get there. To the next activity or the next experience. Now. This minute.
Are you guilty of this?
Unfortunately, that includes your cherished goals in life. Goals are the fabric in the story of your life. Once you reach one milestone, you will want to create another. That is why the ability to grow your patience is important. It is a never-ending process!
Take your time on the journey, for example, top to smell the roses (or coffee), enjoy the scenery (or a baby’s expressions). Laugh with your mother. Listen to your father’s story.
The cool thing is, you can start making little changes in order to grow your patience every day. It is difficult to build, but worth the effort. In traffic, a line at the grocery store, or trying not being annoyed while you are on hold (I know, I know, it still sucks).
Learning to be patient means you can sit back and enjoy the journey!
Grow Your Patience for Health’s (and Your Finance’s) Sake
There are a lot of physical and mental reasons to grow your patience.
Patience has a calm and unflappable countenance. It makes your journey through life planning and financial independence a journey worth taking before you reach your goal.
A benefit of being a patient person is that you are less likely to go off the rails and do anything rash out of frustration!
Impatience is a loud sigh, a car horn or a rude gesture. It begins and ends with tension and anger. It makes reaching your goals less fraught with tension.
It takes patience to reach any goal that you have to continually work toward.
From a health standpoint, people who are patient tend to be more in-tune with their bodies and emotions. If you are a patient person you are less likely to suffer from stress-related illnesses.
From a financial standpoint, patient people will tend to stick to a budget and that translates into meeting their long-term financial goals.
How can you grow your patience to improve your health and financial success?
- Practice patience!
- Notice the things that trigger your impatience
- Reframe the context of the trigger event
- Practice gratitude & Relaxation techniques
- Desensitize yourself to instant gratification
Grow Your Observation Style
Did you know that your observation skills can help solidify what you want in life?
Look around and observe the struggles taking place in the lives around you. If you can see where you don’t want to end up, it will give you insight into where you want to be!
Perhaps observing someone else’s pain and putting your future self in their shoes may change the course of your life.
I read something interesting in a psychology blog related to how pain pushes us to find solutions. We are forced to find solutions when a situation is causing us pain or we are uncomfortable.
Perhaps, seeing someone else in a painful dilemma will help you find solutions to the problems that you didn’t even know you could have in the future!
For example, a friend who is not creating a student debt pay off plan or planning for financial independence is struggling. That means you can see that if you grow your patience with a good financial plan, you can avoid that sort of pain.
It will take time, but freedom is worth that particular journey!
Have you taken any steps to grow your patience by practicing delayed gratification?
As I mentioned, over time we have become a gratification nation. As an adult, there is usually some built-in delayed gratification to our lives, like waiting on a trip that we plan and save for. I’m also practicing patience and delayed gratification in my daily life.
I’ve been forcing myself to wait on purchases from Amazon. I will put them in the cart but wait a couple of days before I buy it. I would say about a third of the time its things that I don’t actually need. It might be a book that sounds interesting, but I already have a stack of books waiting to be read.
While I am working to grow my patience, I am also exposing my children, who are four and three to delayed gratification.
My son is learning patience and early finance lessons with his birthday spending money. He may spend some of his money, some to give away and the rest is being saved for a train set that he wants.
When he was told the train set would take some time to save for, he said: “That’s so many days dad”!
He and his sister also have their own small sections in the garden. We planted some things that grow fast, and others that take longer. The sunflowers are already towering, It’s fun to see my son’s reaction as he watches the progress. We are still watching for some of the vegetables, which is an unexpected lesson in delayed gratification.
It’s growing their patience as they wait for the plants that take longer!
Patience & Planning for Your Future
I like the glass is a half-full approach to life. I like an optimistic way of looking at things.
I’m grateful that we live in a country and during a time which allows us the freedom to dream about our future. That we aren’t living a hand to mouth existence, and have the luxury of planning for our future.
As a registered Life Planner, I love the questions from George Kinder that help you build an intentional life. When I work with my clients one of the first things I ask them is what they see as their biggest opportunities in the next three years.
After they identify this cool thing that they have in mind, it’s time to start building it out.
I’m also a firm believer in monthly money dates. It’s making time to talk with your spouse about what your budget and last month’s expenses. You might talk about what big purchases (or activities) you have coming up in the near future.
Another thing you could do is sort of a behavioral date. You and your spouse start making time to dream together. Ask each other questions and dig into each other’s thoughts. What do you both want?
What would it look like? You might discuss what you each would do if money were no object? Where would you live? What activities would you pursue? You can dream as big as want. There are no limits to this. Again, start building it out.
When I started the podcast, I asked myself, “Can I do this”? I had a lot of self-doubt about starting the podcast because I’m very introverted. I knew it would take some time, and it did! It took me a while before I pushed the record button!
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. They are usually tossed to the side after a few months. So, the question becomes how do you take those dreams that you are discussing and translate them to a future?
Most planning methods are usually done in a one year, three years and five-year format. That is a great way to do long-term planning.
However, using a shorter time frame can be a great foundation and double as a check-in for a longer range plan.
Alternatively, you could take the time to plan quarterly. Every three months make a date with your spouse to talk, question, dream, and plan! My wife and I plan on trying this quarterly approach.
It helps keep your ideas and hopes fresh in your mind!
I also believe that journaling about your goals and dreams can be beneficial. I was told by a client about reflective journaling. He journals about what he has been doing and adds a picture. It was almost like a biography. I thought it was so neat.
I think journaling can increase your patience and gratitude. I think it can improve your relationships, happiness, more success. It allows you to see where you are in life.
Dreaming and journaling also helps you to grow your patience during times when the future seems so far off and you become impatient!
In medicine, during the long hours of residency, there is a saying IGB (It’s going to get better).
They are right, the hours are long, but it helps if you are doing something you love. That makes it all bearable. That is why only the very smartest can make it through such a grueling time of training.
Have you ever heard the saying “The future is now”?
That means that all we have is the present.
It’s important to be content now and enjoy the journey (even during a stressful time or when you are enduring the long hard hours of residency). It does get better.
Keep patiently dreaming, and planning for the future, which requires the ability to delay gratification.
I believe this is a possibility for every one of you.
I would love to hear what you are doing to embrace the present and the steps you have taken to grow your patience and build the future you dream about.