In a world where literally everything we could want as consumers is at our fingertips, it’s difficult not to expect instant gratification. These days we can immediately access pretty much anything we desire with the stroke of a keyboard or the swipe of a finger, including news, credit, entertainment, and even dinner and a date!
But the problem with all of this ‘on demand’ availability is that we’re fast evolving into a race that acts with expectation, rather than taking the time to nurture ourselves as responsible human beings.
What do I mean by this? Well, it takes time to learn how to be a responsible, thinking adult who contributes meaningfully to the world around them, as opposed to someone who entertains an immediate desire for fulfillment, irrespective of the consequences.
In fact, ‘wanting it all’ now is essentially what prevents us from ‘having it all’ at any point in time. Think about it this way, instant satisfaction of ‘hunger’ can keep us from a state of optimal health and contribute to weight issues.
While instant satisfaction of our material desires means we waste money, often taking on expensive credit and ending up broke, rather than richer for all the work we do every day.
Patience and waiting is…
Our modern day consumer lifestyle causes all sorts of conundrums when it comes to learning the art and virtue of patience, making it difficult for parents to teach the value of waiting to children in particular. But it’s a life lesson that can significantly impact our chance to achieve long term and consistent health, happiness and yes, financial freedom.
In his book entitled Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman discusses a study involving a group of 4-year-old children who are told if they wait 15 minutes to eat a biscuit left next to them on a table, they will get two biscuits rather than one.
Tracking the progress of the children involved until they reached the age of 18 revealed that this test was a highly accurate predictor of their future success. Who do you think went on to achieve more in life – the children who waited, or the ones who couldn’t resist eating that biscuit immediately?
Why property investors need patience
Learning delayed gratification rather than immediate satisfaction is essential for investors, particularly when it comes to less liquid type assets such as housing.
The powerful combined forces of leverage and compounding, which can greatly assist in growing your property portfolio successfully and with minimal risk, require time to work their magic.
Those chasing a quick cash injection to their financial coffers are more likely to fall victim to the many spruikers of second-rate products that promise instant income in the form of positive cashflow, but deliver little in the way of long-term value gains – the things that matter when building a solid retirement fund.
How do I learn patience?
Well, it takes time to change ingrained habits that you’ve potentially been taught since childhood. But the good news is it’s entirely do-able. Any bad habit can be transformed into a good habit.
Start by acknowledging habits intended to provide immediate gratification, and the thought patterns associated with these, which will often be focused on things like food and material purchases.
Re-program less constructive, “I want it now” thought processes by turning the feeling of satisfaction around with undesirable consequences for impulsive actions. For instance, you might decide that if you eat a half a block of chocolate to satisfy your craving in the moment, you have to walk an hour to burn it off.
Practice making more conscious life choices by pausing and counting to five before you act…Stop yourself in the moment and ask – do I really need this right now?
Additionally, get into the habit of saving up for something you really want, rather than being tempted to use that expensive credit card. And exercise self-control whenever possible.
These are just a few ideas, but I’m sure when you start to think about your own internal dialogue around your expectations of personal fulfillment, you’ll come up with many more ways to win out by waiting. Remember, if it comes too quickly, chances are you’ll lose it just as readily. All good things take time.