Stop Living in the Moment to Start Living Your Dreams
The Marshmallow Test
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffett
There is one fundamental difference between those who succeed and those who don't. Successful people think ahead. They think about their future and plan for it. They make decisions today that will positively impact their life 1, 5, or even ten years from now.
We all have urges, but some people learn to rein them better than others. Being an indulgent person implies that your body's will precedes your mind's. Making us no better than other animals.
Short-term gratification vs. long-term gain is something that we learn early in life. Several studies have been conducted on the potential consequences of delaying gratification and how it relates to success.
In the 1970s, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted the Stanford marshmallow experiment at Stanford University to determine if children could delay gratification. In this study, a child was given the option of receiving one significant but immediate reward or two lesser rewards if they waited for a long time.
The experimenter left the room for 15 minutes and then returned. A marshmallow or a pretzel stick was rewarded depending on the child's preference. In follow-ups, the researchers discovered that children who could wait longer for their preferred rewards had higher life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational completion rates, body mass index (BMI), and other life metrics.
Discipline is a crucial trait of successful people. It's not all or nothing — it's the ability to be disciplined in some areas of your life while being spontaneous in others. These same disciplined thinking processes that help you plan for your future every day also help you make better decisions.
People often avoid thinking about their future and, by default, plan for it because they want to prevent any stress they think it might bring them. They have a fear of being responsible or accountable for their lives. That's the wrong approach. If you find yourself in this category, make it your responsibility to change your mindset. You can achieve anything if you are bold enough to go for it!
The Proactive vs. Reactive Mindset
Proactive people tend to have a long-term view of their lives. They develop plans and schedules. They plan strategies that guide them toward the success they want to achieve. One of my favorite sayings is, "If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail" It means that without proper planning, achieving your ultimate goal will be next to impossible!
The ability to think is one of the things that separates human beings from all other creatures on Earth, and the ability to think well makes the difference between success and failure.
Thinking is everything. You can look for shortcuts in life, or you can take a long way. It's your choice, but remember that it's always better to take the high road when possible.
Entrepreneurs need to cultivate disciplined thinking habits because they are the ones who are responsible for coming up with creative solutions that will move their business forward.
Think in Five-Year Chunks
Thinking five years ahead can help you avoid common pitfalls in your business. It can help you better understand the market trends and how to take advantage of them.
This is easy to see if we are talking about the new technologies introduced yearly. But, it is difficult for some people to think of something happening next year.
Thinking five years ahead will help you prepare for what's coming and ensure that your company doesn't get left behind.
Have a Long-Term Vision
Long-term plans are essential for any organization to succeed.
A five-year plan is a good start, but it needs to be fleshed out with short-term objectives and specific goals.
The first step is to create a vision statement for the company. This vision statement should encapsulate its mission and values and give employees a sense of direction for their work. The long-term vision isn't only for businesses; it also applies to every aspect of life.
Leveraging the "One-Year" Rule
The "One-Year" rule is a strategy that helps people to plan for an entire year without feeling too overwhelmed.
The rule can be summed up in one sentence: "Work on goals for the next year by doing them monthly, work on goals for the next month by doing them weekly, and work on goals for the next week by doing them daily."
It's easy to think that the only difference between successful and those who aren't is luck, but there are some key differences.
Successful people often have a penchant for planning. They make decisions today to live better lives in the future.
What kind of person do you want to be? Do you plan, or do you live in the moment?
© Alejandro Betancourt, 2022. All Rights Reserved.