How do you think rich people become wealthy? Luck? Great job? Family inheritance? Winning the lottery?
True, these things may play a role in some people’s wealth.
But what if I told you a key ingredient to becoming wealthy was something you already have at your fingertips?
Granted, it’s not exciting. It’s not an innate superpower or a winning formula.
It’s much more simple than that.
Successful people know how to say no
Delayed gratification is a form of self-control.
It’s the ability to resist the temptation of immediate reward in order to receive a later, often larger or longer-lasting reward.
It’s also a key trait of highly successful people.
The importance of delayed gratification is emphasised by the “marshmallow test”.
This was conducted by a team of Stanford University researchers in 1960.
Children aged four to six were given the option of eating a treat, usually a marshmallow, or waiting 15 minutes without giving into temptation to receive a second treat.
Decades later, follow-up studies found that the children who could delay eating a marshmallow were more successful in that they performer better at school, had lower levels of substance abuse, lower obesity rates, and coped better with stress, than the children who ate their treat immediately.
In other words, wonderful things can happen for those who wait!
But in our consumer-holic society, instant gratification is held up as the ideal.
We’re bombarded with advertisements promising us a better life with products we don’t need.
Buy now, pay later. Buy two, get one free. Go on, you deserve it.
Do you fall for these gimmicks? What’s your “marshmallow”? Think of the financial gains you could make if you delayed gratification and invested your money more wisely!
Wealthy people have self-control
People don’t get wealthy by spending their money on whatever they want, whenever they want.
In his book The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy, American journalist Paul Sullivan examines the differences between people in the top 5 per cent–10 per cent income bracket and those in the top 1 per cent income bracket.
Both groups spent about the same percentage of their incomes on food, housing and other expenses, with a few surprising exceptions.
The most notable was that the top 1 per cent spent 30 per cent less money eating at restaurants and chose less expensive cars.
Their spending restraint was obvious in everything they did.
They knew their wealth was limited and they managed it more wisely.
The research is clear: If you want financial success, you must be disciplined.
Delaying gratification means you ignore what’s easily achievable in the short term in favour of what’s more difficult – yet more rewarding – to achieve in the long term.