We live in fast-paced world with plenty to keep you distracted. What’s more, we evolved to crave the instant, the immediate response or sensation. It’s an instinct to which society now caters nearly absolutely. The internet presents you with information at the click of a button, TV delivers on-demand content to your screen, and modern games are nothing but instant gratification. Financially speaking, credit cards deliver instant purchases with deferred payments. But is that really the best way?

Those credit cards present a great case in point. The banks rake in money through credit card payments (you’ve probably made a fair number yourself) because the banks understand intuitively what people claim to know but rarely act on – that taking your time and waiting for deferred gratification is a cornerstone of success. By being willing to delay your gratification by putting in the hard work now instead of putting it off, you position yourself ahead of your peers and competitors.

This notion applies throughout life, but it’s especially valuable in the business world. If you’re the one working while your competitors take vacations, guess who’s ready to capture that lucrative new contract when it comes through? This isn’t to say you should always be working; just recognize where it makes sense to invest your time  now in order bank greater gratification for later.

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