Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gratification Delayed; Gratification Denied

Psychological theorists have long explained the transition between childhood and adulthood in terms of the ability to delay gratification. Apparently, the younger among us go immediately for any object or actions that would gratify our needs while the more mature among us are capable of holding off until the moment is right.

Now, John Tierney has informed us of new research that proves, yet again, that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Link here.

It seems that some people become too good at delay. They miss the moment for pleasure because they are constantly putting things off until tomorrow.

In Tierney's words: "Once you start procrastinating pleasure, it can become a self-perpetuating process if you fixate on some imagined nirvana. The longer you wait to open that special bottle of wine, the more special the occasion has to be."

The moral of the story: do not wait for the arrival of an unattainably ideal moment. You would probably do better not to drink that great bottle of wine the minute you receive it, but, if you are prone to delay your gratification excessively, it is best to keep in mind a maxim that Tierney uses to end his article: the moment you open that special bottle of wine is a special occasion.

Sounds rather Zen... in the good sense of the word.

No comments: