Immediate Gratification vs. Success

The fourth Thursday in November has come to symbolize a lot about the American culture. Thanksgiving is a tradition that includes family, lots of delicious food, and of course, football. All three are great, the last two even better when done in moderation.

Ironically, this week I received an e-mail from someone asking, “Why do you think so many people are willing to put up the money to go to a sporting event, root for a certain team or player (which has no direct benefit to them), yet when it comes to putting up the money to better their life by investing in self-improvement items, they avoid it?”

What a good question to ponder on Thanksgiving Day. I do know a lot of people who will eagerly spend $100 for a ticket to a football game, but they become squeamish at the thought of spending $50 for an audio book that could change their life. And the words “football game” could easily be replaced with “opera”, “night on the town”, “movie” or any other entertaining activity. I use football only because it goes along so well with the holiday we are celebrating today.

Simple Answer

The answer to the question is really an easy one. We have grown up in a consumer-driven economy that encourages us to buy, buy, buy. In order for that to happen, we have to have a need that buying meets. The need it meets is instant gratification, and we have become a society focused on meeting that one need.

Unfortunately, instant gratification is not always the best solution for us in the long term. Don’t get me wrong. I love taking weekend trips, splurging on going out to eat more than I should, and yes, I even like to attend an occasional sporting event. Having fun is an important part of living every minute. Unfortunately, it’s the easy part.

Immediate Gratitude vs. Lifelong Success
The hard part to living every minute is planning for the future, and living into the plan, even when it means turning down things in the now.

For example, it is very easy to say, “My goal is to save $5,000 this year, and in order to accomplish that, I am going to put back $200 from each paycheck.”

The hard part comes when your team makes it to the Super Bowl, and you just have to have the $50 “Championship Sweatshirt” to celebrate the win. You convince yourself that putting back only $150 this month, instead of the full $200, won’t hurt your savings too bad. And then you get even better news. Your friends are caravanning to the Championship Parade. For about $200, you can tag along too and have a good time. So you convince yourself to borrow $50 from last month’s savings and not put any back this month. Before you know it, you’ve reached the end of the year, and you have not reached your $5,000 goal.

Immediate gratification has caused many people to fall into the rut of living in the now with no plan for the future. While it is great to create memories, remember that for each memory created, another memory may be lost.

Build Your Future
Going back to the original question, people are more likely to spend money on sporting events instead of self-help seminars, because sporting events are more accepted in our society. Everyone knows what you mean when you say, “I’m going to see the Dallas Cowboys play.” They may not know what you mean when you say, “I bought my tickets to Craig Duswalt’s Rockstar System for Success seminar.”

While both events will create memories, one event will have a lot longer lasting impact. Sure, watching the Cowboys in their new stadium is a unique adventure, and you might get lucky enough to sit next to someone who can help you on a business venture. But attending a self-help seminar will introduce you to a room of people all interested in improving their lives and businesses. More importantly, all willing to share their knowledge and help you grow too.

Everyone on the team at Living Every Minute attends at least two self-help seminars a year, in addition to reading at least two books a month to increase our knowledge.

Gift Ideas
Tomorrow starts another great American Tradition with the official kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. This Christmas, consider giving those you love gifts that will help them improve their lives.

Some of the gifts that we recommend include:
Living Every Minute: Design the Life You Deserve
by Tim Reynolds (Activity Book & DVD Series)

The Traveler’s Gift
by Andy Andrews (book)

The Art of Exceptional Living
by Jim Rohn (Audio CD)

Craig Duswalt’s Rock Star System for Success Seminar
Next Conference, March 2010

LifeSkills Leadership from the Heart Seminar
Next Conference, December 2010

Now, get off the computer and go spend time with your family. Happy Thanksgiving from the entire staff at Living Every Minute!

[Ed. Note: For an extended list of suggested books, or for additional seminar resources, please visit our website.]

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