One of the most common examples of delayed gratification is for a person to be able to save their money now to be able to purchase a more desirable product in the future.
The power of self gratification is best know from the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a study conducted by Professor Walter Mischel at Stanford University. In this experiment, Mischel studied a group of four to six-year-old children who were given a marshmallow and left in a room for fifteen minutes. They were given the choice of being able to eat the marshmallow now, or if they were to wait the fifteen minutes, they will be able to have two marshmallows. Ultimately, some children were able to wait the fifteen minutes, whilst others were not able to.
The study didn’t finish there however. Researchers continued to study the development of the children into adolescents. They found that those children that were able to delay gratification were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable persons, more self motivated, and as high school students, scored significantly better with grades.
The study shows that delaying gratification is a choice of the individual. You can choose to have something now, or you can choose to have something bigger or better at a later time. Delaying gratification improves your willpower and ultimately helps you reach your longer-term goals faster.