People who are good at deferred gratification is more likely to succeed

Deferred gratification

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Freedom is worth deferred gratification

The concept of “deferred gratification” comes from a child psychology study called the “Marshmallow Experiment” by author Walter Mischel in 1960. The researchers placed a marshmallow in front of the children and told them that if they could resist eating it within 20 minutes, they would get a second candy.

Follow-up observations of these children show that most of the children who can wait until the second candy have better academic performance later. They have stronger social and cognitive abilities and are more comfortable than their peers in the face of setbacks and stress. By middle age, their rates of career success and family harmony are also higher than those of those who cannot persist in waiting (low latency).

This experiment that lasted for nearly half a century finally illustrates a problem: self-control cannot be achieved simply by persisting or saying “no”, but by changing our way of thinking, and this thinking mode is “deferred gratification”.

Deferred gratification accumulative time compound interest

Representative figure

The representative figure in the business world is Zhang Yiming, the founder of the company that owns the now all-red social network Douyin ByteDance. If ByteDance is listed on the public market, the current value of Zhang Yiming’s ByteDance shares will beat all the property of Tesla founder Musk and become the world’s richest man.

Zhang Yiming once said: “Half of the problems in many people’s lives are caused by the lack of delayed gratification. The essence of delayed gratification is to overcome human weaknesses, and overcoming weaknesses is for more freedom.” Zhang Yiming learned about it when he was in college. Practicing the concept of “delayed gratification”, he calls himself a “moral champion” and does not play games, cards, or watch DVDs. When Toutiao first started, many investors, including Tencent, came to him with attractive terms and wanted to acquire him, but he rejected them all.

Zhang Yiming is a firm advocate of “delayed gratification”. He also specially released the cover photo of the book “The Road Less Traveled” to explain what “delayed gratification” is – simply put, giving up immediate gratification for more valuable long-term results.

In September 2010, he once wrote on Weibo, “Delayed gratification and resolutely saying goodbye to inertia are the two most important foundations of excellence.” He also said, “People with different levels of delayed gratification, It is impossible to discuss the problem effectively, because the depth of their willingness to explore and stay is different.”, “With the low degree of delay in satisfaction for most people, it is not their turn to compete for talent.”, “The common enemy of wisdom, Undelayed gratification, paralysis or fear caused by experience.”

Zhang Yiming said, “The essence of delayed gratification is to overcome human weaknesses, and overcoming weaknesses is for more freedom.”

Munger also recommends

Suggest you check Muger’s interview transcript on Delayed Gratification.

First of all “Great investing requires a lot of Delayed Gratification” – Charlie Munger said.

Charlie Munger shared what he believed to be the secret to success: ““It’s so simple to spend less than you earn, and invest shrewdly, and avoid toxic people and toxic activities, and try and keep learning all your life, and do a lot of deferred gratification,” he said at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting in May. “If you do all those things, you are almost certain to succeed. If you don’t, you’re going to need a lot of luck.”

He said: “In the long run, people who can delay gratification will live better. Some people have been unable to control themselves since childhood, and when they grow up, they spend money randomly, buying Rolex, Patek Philippe and other flashy things. An adult should be diligent and frugal, should delay gratification, and should not squander freely.”

“The quality of delayed gratification is basically innate, and this conclusion has been confirmed in psychological research. If you have some talent for delayed gratification and you can cultivate this talent, you are already on the road to success and happiness.”

In 2017 Daily Journal shareholder meeting, he siad “I lived all my life with people who were into deferred gratification. In fact, most of them will never have any fun. They just defer gratification all the way to end, that’s what we do. And it does cause you to get rich. So we’re going to have a lot of rich dead people. (laughter) We can excite a lot of envy.”

A lot of you when the people walk by your grave and there will be this nice grave with this nice monument and they’ll say, “God what a great grave, I wish I were under.” But at any rate, deferred gratification really does work if what you’re doing is growing a business that gets better and better and getting yourself so that your grave can look nice to outsiders.

Deferred gratification
credit: The WoodShedd

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