The Magic Ingredient To Achieving All Your Goals

The Magic Ingredient To Achieving All Your Goals

December 28, 2018

I couldn’t believe what I just heard.

A while ago, I found myself sitting in a classroom (long story), and we were doing a review for the test coming the next day.

For each question, we were supposed to read it silently and write down our answer. Silently. After a few seconds the instructor would then read the question and give the answer.

Three different times, the instructor asked us not to call out the answers. Calling out the answers would be distracting and would prevent other classmates from attempting to answer the question on their own. He said he understood the temptation to yell it out but please don’t for others’ sake.

It was a reasonable request.

Furthermore, he guaranteed that someone would speak out despite the three warnings.

That was ridiculous.

We’re all adults, here, mister. We get it. No one is going to call out the answers. It’s not even a possibility.

It took until question 5.

The instructor read question #5 and someone called out the answer. My mouth fell open.

Patiently, the instructor asked us to remember his warnings and not call out answers. The class laughed.

Haha, we did it. Sorry. Won’t happen again!

It happened again. Four more times.

People couldn’t stop calling out answers.

Our goal was to keep quiet and learn the material for ourselves while not ruining it for someone else.

Noble goals.

But the class couldn’t let that happen, not when yelling out the correct answer just felt so good.

The pleasure of immediate gratification completely overwhelmed the sought-after, long-term goal.

And that’s the secret.

If we want to achieve worthy goals, we have to learn to delay gratification.

For example, if we want to get down to an ideal weight, we have to forego eating that cinnamon roll until later. We have to eat right Monday-Friday and THEN we can have that treat. We have to delay deliciousness now for sculpted-ness later.

If we want to retire early, we have to NOT buy that yacht now so we can buy two yachts later.

If we want to be CEO, we have to eschew that fun trip to Vegas and work all weekend. The un-fun work done now will lead to the satisfaction of a high post later.

Delaying gratification works.

As Dr. Cohen says,

“Choosing to have something now might feel good, but making the effort to have discipline and manage your impulses can result in bigger or better rewards in the future. Over time, delaying gratification will improve your self-control and ultimately help you achieve your long-term goals faster.”

We can achieve all our goals.

We just can’t have everything all the time right now.


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.