Delayed gratification

I have recently seen the notion of “Delayed Gratification” mentioned in various FIRE 🔥 related posts. Delayed Gratification, what a brilliant concept. It does not come more FIRE like then that.

I first noticed it in one twitter/Pinterest/Insta post some time back, and snipped it out offcourse…

I think 🤔 it was some time before Christmas that I first noticed it, and I think the reason why I snipped it out, was because we had just had an example in the family of the exact opposite of delayed gratification.

See the thing is, that we have this concept of Advent Calendar 📆 in Denmark. Typically these will be small candy packages for children to open in the 24 days up to Christmas. All of our 3 boys had gotten one from their grandmother 👵. The two eldest were doing fine, but with the youngest one we got an early indication on the first day, that his calendar might not last all the way till the 24th. And rightly so, roughly half way in it was completely gone.

Got me thinking about the old marshmallow test, which tested 4 y/o’s ability to postpone rewards. You can find the background information on the wiki link below;

Stanford’s marshmallow test

This evil adult game played on innocent 😇 children in order to root out their most inner personalities at such a young and defenseless age.

What is interesting 🧐 though, is that the entire test is a test of ones ability to delay gratification. Looking that up on wiki, and it gets even more exciting;

Delayed gratification

Strictly speaking off course – in a narrow FIRE 🔥 sense the ability to delay gratification will come very handy in acquiring that utopian state of financial independence, but it turns out, that the ability to delay gratification is just part of an individuals ability to self-regulate, as captured in the below quote;

Almost at the same time, insta pushes the below picture in to my face. Also very personal finance and FIREish. But just with a slightly different angle to actually reaching the utopia.

FUCK – I have to earn more money. Apparently. Saving my way will not get me there. Almost the same as saying that the notion of delaying gratification will not work. You will not make it if you are not able to build your income! Yikes 😱. Not a lot of hope for all us middle achievers out there.

So there we are – what is the best way to become financially independent? Is it to exercise behavioral cost control, and through saving and investing of whatever means you bring home 🏡 build your estate and fortune.

Or is it to just let go, and endeavor in the never ending (corporate) rat race in order to try to raise the bar of your personal top line.

In other words – build wealth through top line growth or through cost control and button line increases?

To me, the answer is becoming more and more clear. Especially given all the apparent positive behavioral side effects associated with procrastination, austerity and general delayed gratification.

Happy delaying out there


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