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“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” – Brian Tracy

Delayed gratification is the discipline or exercise of not focusing on instant success but instead focusing on achieving long-term success. To have such discipline means that you are in the mindset of playing the long game. You are in control of your primal urges to always go for instant gratification no matter what it is. I’m not saying that short-term goals are insignificant. In fact, small goals are essential as long as they are in line with your big goals. The problem comes in when you put in most of your energy to achieving as many small goals as possible because you crave that feeling of having succeeded. It feels good for a while but did those short-term successes brought you closer to your main goal? To become a better leader, you have to rise above the urge to go after instant success and let logic and reason take over.

Being a good leader is not just about guiding your organisation and your team to success. It is also about putting aside your own wants and needs to be able to prioritise the company as a whole. A good leader understands that the company is not just a business but a source of livelihood for those employed in it. A lot is at stake and pursuing instant gratification can only hinder your and the company’s success. Be disciplined. Resist those urges. Practice delayed gratification and the rewards would be much greater.

Leadership Maturity and Delayed Gratification

Dishonesty, taking shortcuts, and falling for easy money are the most common downfalls for leaders, especially for those that are new to the role. What do those three things have in common? All of them are the results of chasing instant success. Good leaders are mature enough to know that there is no easy path to real success. It takes a lot of patience, vision, and resilience. Going for delayed gratification is a sign of being a mature leader. It shows that you already have the willpower to overcome our most primal human urge of achieving instant success.

Humility and Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification teaches you humility. Most if not all entrepreneurs have egos. Having an ego is not the problem. Having a huge one is. It is when you overstate your significance or progress is when things can become problematic. When you start telling people how awesome and successful you are, it goes to your head. You lose focus and become disconnected from reality. Practicing delayed gratification lets you focus on what matters. You prevent yourself from wasting time showing people how successful you are. Instead, you use that time working towards real success. You let your work speak for itself and when people start noticing, it provides much greater satisfaction.