I want it here - I want it now!
British scientists asked more than 40.000 people if they wanted 40£ now or 60£ in three months. Even though no (reasonable) investment could ever give such a high return, more than half said “I’ll have it now, please.”
The questions shows how one discerns “pleasure now” compared to “pleasure later”. In so many things in life, we have to delay pleasure in order to succeed. Examples are:
- Wait till you find a suitable partner and avoid marrying… well, just to get married.
- Say no to a three year old and stick with it. Later you’ll have a kid who understands you mean no, when you say so.
- Clean your house today and have a nice place tomorrow and the day after that.
- Choose the healthy lunch and feel better at the end of the day.
- Save before your buy and enjoy a purchase you can really afford.
- Practise your guitar and enjoy the music that comes later.
The question really comes down to the principle of “eating your potatoes before you have dessert.” It’s one of the things I really hope to teach my children - that they will be able to do something now because they see a benefit of it later. The delaying of pleasure.
When the scientists compared the group who chose the 40£ now to the group who chose 60£ later, they found other interesting differences between the groups:
- The group who preferred pleasure now were more likely to smoke. (”It feels good now”)
- They were more likely to be overweight. (”It tastes good now”)
- They were more likely to admit to having an affair lately. (”I want to and it feels good”)
In these cases it comes down to saying no, because you want something else more. A trick in this case is to know what you want. Then picture yourself having it. Remembering that feeling makes it sooo much easier to say no to pleasure now. I know I want something else. And I want it more.
This is how my husband and I paid off debt. We imagined ourselves debt free - able to live and be content within our means. We read about others who did it. We decided to do it and made a plan. The thought of this made it so much easier to stop my lifestyle inflation. I wanted the debt free life more.
When do you say no to yourself? And why?