The 1 Time Procrastination Makes You More Successful

Sacrifice and discipline… two words that make many of us want to run. For most people, there is nothing positive about sacrifice or discipline, after all, who wants to give anything up or deny themselves?

As human beings we have an innate tendency to seek out pleasure and avoid pain, add to that the fact that we live in a culture that continually tells us we “deserve” everything from SUVs and Big Screen TV’s to being thin and having beautiful skin. If you believe what you watch, you could easily be led to believe that the best thing you can do for yourself is satisfy every urge, desire or want you ever have.

This desire to satisfy our every craving as quickly as possible is at the heart of why many of us will never achieve all that we could. Resilience is developed through trial. After all, what is resilience really? Isn’t it just our ability to handle challenging situations like change, defeat, failure, and come back from it? How can we learn to do that if we never face difficulty?

Many parents work tirelessly to ensure that their children never face an obstacle. They thing they are doing the best they can for their child by preventing them from ever feeling pain. The truth however is that it is in failing and feeling pain that we learn and grow.

As children our parents, if they were good ones, disciplined us when we needed it. Discipline doesn’t necessarily mean punishment (although that is what many people associate it with) it really just means that a parent does what they have to do to keep their child(ren) headed on the right path. Sacrifice works much the same way… parents sacrifice many things that they might ‘want’ to do, in order to achieve a greater good for their child(ren).

As adults, if we want to realize any lasting success, we must learn how to discipline ourselves and sacrifice for our goals. That means putting off, or procrastinating on rewarding ourselves, until we have accomplished something truly worthy of a reward. When we use rewards this way, we use them effectively as tools of motivation.

Unfortunately, many people fall into the trap of buying into the messages of pop culture telling them: “you deserve it”, “reward yourself”, “you’re worth it”. This “entitlement ideology” destroys the potential of many people. I would suggest it is likely at the root cause of the credit card crisis and maybe even the obesity epidemic.

When believe “I deserve it” even when they don’t, they spend money they don’t have. When people thing they should “reward themselves” even if they haven’t done anything to warrant a reward, they eat more than they should. What successful people do that is different, is they think longer term. They realize that there is nothing particularly wrong with thinking “I deserve it” if you’ve worked really hard and actually do deserve it. They understand that rewarding yourself is fine, if you’ve done something worthy of being rewarded. But they also understand how to think LONG term. They are able to postpone short-term small gratification in order to get longer term larger gratification.

So this week I encourage you to procrastinate on rewarding yourself. Wait until there is something truly worth a reward.  look at whether there are some sacrifices you need to make in order to reach that next level of success. In what areas of your life do you need to be more disciplined?