How do folks sabotage themselves? They habitually engage in “Delay Discounting”. Huh? Delay discounting? What’s that? Delay discounting is what behavioral economists call the human tendency to choose smaller but immediate rewards over larger but delayed rewards. This tendency persists, even when the larger reward is meaningfully greater. We want it NOW (whatever “it” is) and we don’t want to wait and we will blissfully follow whatever pied piper promises to bring us that bright, shiny bauble fastest.

The lust for immediate gratification, the desire for the harvest without the labor of tilling the field, is the undoing of many. When I was a teenager, my dad, a Civil Engineer and a very practical man, asked me why so many of my contemporaries were doing drugs. I told him it was simple. They wanted to be “happy” and they were willing to take any shortcut to get there. While I lacked the words then to express it, intuitively I also knew they were mistaking the physical sensation of euphoric pleasure (and running risks of bad trips and need for ever higher doses for the same effect) for the emotional achievement of happiness and the spiritual sensation of peace and contentment.

Never give up what you want most for what you desire now. Keep your eye on the mountain top.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier