Stop Pursuing Fake Happiness! Stop Reaching For Immediate Gratification!

(NOTE: This essay is Part 2 in a series on breaking the trouble-making habit of immediate gratification. You can read the first essay by clicking here.)immediate gratification

Recently there’s been a series of studies which link the ability to “delay gratification” with enjoying higher levels of happiness. In fact, many modern day clinical and social psychologists have even gone on record calling self-control” the “master virtue” to strive for – above and beyond all other virtues.

At first glance, “delayed gratification,” doesn’t sound like a ton of fun. But when you think about it, the better you’re able to delay gratification, the more likely you are to achieve academic success, monetary success, relationship success, and stronger physical health.

Here’s a quick peek at some happiness perks of self control – as reported in the famous “Marshmallow Test.”

The Cliff Notes On The Marshmallow Test:

Pre-school children were given a choice between enjoying one marshmallow now – or getting two marshmallows later. The follow-up studies on the “2-marshmallow kids” are enlightening! The kids who were able to hold out for 2 marshmallows were renamed “high-delayers.” And these “high delayers” were later shown to score higher on their SAT’s, be more likely to complete their education, have better jobs, make more money, stay married, live healthier lives and have less addictions. Each minute that a 2-marshmallow high-delayer was able to delay gratification translated to a .2% reduction in Body Mass Index 30 years later. These 2-marshmallow high-delayers also displayed more social competence, greater self-assuredness and higher self-worth. These 2-marshmallow high-delayers were also rated by their parents as more mature, better able to cope with stress, more likely to plan ahead, more likely to use reason – and less likely to have conduct disorders, aggressiveness and hyperactivity.

immediate gratification

Even though these various studies on “delayed gratification” were done recently, my favorite philosopher Aristotle raved about the happiness perks of “self control” waaaaay back in the 300’s BC!

As many of my readers know I have a Platonic crush on Aristotle. I write about his philosophies often (in my books, webinars and essays). I love Aristotle’s philosophies so much, I even named my son “Ari” as a “wink” to Aristotle’s name.

One of my favorite Aristotle beliefs: The reason why so many people are unhappy is that they confuse “pleasure” for “true happiness.”

  1. Pleasure” (aka: “hedonia”) is all about immediate gratification of the body and/or ego. It’s impulse-driven hedonism – hit and run joy – superficial and fleeting. It’s “fake happiness.” When you’re caught up in “pleasure,”  you’re “body-focused” or “ego-focused” or “superficially-externally-focused”  – instead of “soul-focused”  (or “true-core-self-focused”).
  1. “True happiness” (aka: eudaimonia ) is all about surrounding yourself with habits and people who stretch your soul – and thereby empower you to grow into your highest potential. Often “true happiness” requires “delayed gratification” – because you have to put in the extra effort of discipline, patience and assorted strong character values – before that “feel good high” kicks in. But when it does, it’s amped up higher than “pleasure” can ever take you. Plus “true happiness” creates “long-haul joy” – because “true happiness” is all about growing who you are inside of yourself – so it lasts as long as YOU last.

immediate gratificationBasically, Aristotle believed that “true happiness” is about recognizing that your soul is your ultimate g-spot for happiness – not your ego or body. If you want to be happy, you gotta do actions your soul can be proud of!

Aristotle also put forth another important life philosophy  – which also relates back to “fake happiness” versus “true happiness.” Aristotle believed that the best way to start any project – including the project called “Your Life” – is to begin with the ends in mind -or what he called “your teleology.”

Aristotle asked: “Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right?”

Aristotle believed that your “life teleology” (aka: “final ends for life”) is the same as my “final ends for life.”  Indeed, everyone on this planet shares the same  “final ends for life” – which is to become your best possible self.

So, how do we become our best possible self? We must consistently prioritize habits of good character and strive for excellence.

Aristotle recognized this goal is easier said than done.

Aristotle’s recommendation? You must regularly, mindfully focus on your “final ends for life” – and make choices based on whatever will help you to become your best possible self.

Aristotle put forth that  you have 2 paths you can take in life  – and only 1 of these 2 paths will lead you to become your best self.

immediate gratification Life’s 2 Paths:

Path#1 : The Impulse-Directed path – where you “sleep-walk” through life – pursuing immediate gratification pleasure – “fake happiness.”  The Impulse-Directed Path double-duties as the Body-Directed path and/or the Ego-Directed path.

Path #2: The Growth Directed path – where you live an “awake” life – pursuing “true happiness” – even if it means putting up with a “time delay” until you feel/attain those longer-term 2-marshmallow-level greater rewards for your efforts. The Growth-Directed path double-duties as the Soul-Directed path – and the True-Happiness-Directed Path. Plus, when you choose this second “Growth-Directed Path,” you’re better prepared to face life’s challenges, failures and obstacles. Why? Because when you’re Growth-Directed (and not Impulse-Directed) you embrace long-term benefits of challenges, failures and obstacles  – viewing them as opportunities to learn and grow into your best possible self!

Aristotle Put Forth:  The tempting Impulse-Directed path is not a short cut to happiness. It’s a bumpy, dead end road leading straight to fake happiness, depression, disappointment and failure.

Aristotle Put Forth: The Growth-Directed path might at first look loooong and mountainous to climb, but it gets easier and easier the more you climb it  – because you develop “up-the-high-road-we-shall go muscles.”

Knowing Aristotle’s love and respect for “delayed gratification,” I’m betting he wouldn’t have been at all surprised to hear that those 2-marshmallow high-delayer kids wound up happier in the longterm than those 1-marshmallow impulse-directed kids. After all, Aristotle defined “the good life” as the “admirable life” – a life in which you’re doing actions your soul can be proud of – so you can bloom into your best possible self.

Unfortunately it’s not simply enough to know that delayed gratification rocks. You must also have the ability to choose “delayed gratification” – and choose it regularly – on a daily basis.  I will be writing more about this incredibly important subject – in a series of essays – and sharing tools to help you to become a “high delayer.”  Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you get notice of the next essay. In the meantime, click here plus also over here to read 2 essays with “quick” tips for “slowing down”! And if you’re seeking psychological tools to resist the immediate gratification pull for food, click here now!

 TWEET THIS NOW: Stop Pursuing Fake Happiness! Stop Reaching For Immediate Gratification! @notsalmon

I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about immediate gratification?  Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

 

 

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    Some people only hate you because of the way other people love you.

    hate youTWEET THIS NOW: Some people only hate you because of the way other people love you. @notsalmon

    I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about people who hate you because other people love you?  Is jealousy and envy at the root of a lot of hate?  Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

     

     

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      When you are feeling peaceful you are in your ultimate power.

      feeling peacefulTWEET THIS NOW: When you’re feeling peaceful you’re in your ultimate power. @notsalmon

      I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about feeling peaceful?  Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

      CONTINUE READING

        How to let go of anger and resentment

        how to let go of anger and resentment

        Want to know how to let go of anger and resentment? Click here for tools, research and support.

        TWEET THIS NOW: At some point you have to let go of what you wanted to happen, and embrace what is. @notsalmon

        I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about how to let go of anger and resentment?  Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

        CONTINUE READING

          How Immediate Gratification Has Created Pretty Much Every Problem You’ve Ever Had – And The World Now Has Too

          immediate gratificationCan you resist the siren call of immediate gratification – when it comes to food, love, lust, money, Facebook, texting etc? Chances are if you’re having a problem right now in your life, it’s due to your needing to practice better impulse control. Read on…

          The other evening I told my 4 year old son it was time to brush his teeth.

          His reply: “I’m sorry, mom. I’m just not feeling it right now.”

          Yes, my son is 4 going on 16!

          The truth: It doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 16 or 116.Often the most important things we all need to do wind up double-dutying as things we do not feel like doing.

          Quickie Examples From My Own I-Don’t-Want To Do List:

          Clean up

          Exercise

          Eat less chocolate

          Do work

          Shop within a budget

          Work on taxes

          Share a “loving, courageous dialogue” with my partner

           When I look at this list, I can clearly see how my biggest opportunities for happiness and growth are consistently preceded by a big, whiny: “But I’m just not feeling it right now!”

          The reason we feel resistance? It’s far more fun to seek immediate gratification – than to delay gratification – even if we know there’s an awesome longer-term benefit awaiting.

          Examples of “a longer term benefit”:

           Brush teeth = no holes in your teeth

          Clean up = live in a comfy home and know where the heck things are

          Exercise = be healthy & energized

          Don’t eat too much chocolate = no sugar high followed by fatigue plunge & weight gain

          Do work = pride & success & ability to pay for comfy home, food and coffee

          Shop within a budget = ability to keep on paying for comfy home, food and coffee

          Work on taxes = certainty that I will stay living in my comfy home

          Share a “loving, courageous dialogue” with my partner =  more loving, longer-lasting relationship

          immediate gratificationWe all recognize that hard work, patience and willpower are important. Yet, when given the choice between chocolate versus salad – or sleeping late versus working out – we’re often tempted to choose the thing which feels good in the moment.

          The result:

          We can go through life choosing what’s easy instead of what’s right – and wind up mightily disappointed.

          The truth:

          Often the hardest thing and the most right thing are the same exact thing! You should never sacrifice what you want most in life, in swap for what you want now. A comfort zone might be nice place to hang out in – but nothing truly awesome ever grows there.

           I confess I’ve been lured in to take the easy/fast route on many occasions. I’ve eaten too much, spent too much, exercised too little, blurted out things I regret. I’ve even gotten engaged far too soon.

          Yep. Pretty much all my problems (big and small) have happened because I acted too quickly on my impulses.

          Our inability to delay gratification not only wreaks havoc in our personal world, but also in our world at large.  Look around. There’s a high divorce rate – because people are more apt to end relationships rather than work on them. There’s an epidemic of obesity and plentiful stories of credit card debt.   More people than ever are being diagnosed with impulse control disorders.  Plus the number of children and adults with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and addictions are all on the rise.

          Let’s get real. We all know it’s not simply the smartest people who score the highest grades and biggest salaries.  It’s those who are willing to delay gratification – and put in the effort of discipline to study hard and pay their dues at a job – or any skill to be mastered.

          Basically, when you’re unable to resist immediate gratification you wreak major havoc.

          THE SIREN CALL OF IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION CREATES INFINITE WORLD WIDE PROBLEMS:

          addictions (to food, drugs, alcohol, porn, shopping)

          high divorce rate

          saying mean things in the moment

          health issues

          crime

          gambling

          aggression

          obsession

          depression

          bullying

          anger management issues

          cellphone over-use

          Facebook over-use

          compulsive behaviors of all kinds

          over-spending

          financial ruin

          our nation’s debt

          cheating in business

          cheating in love

          pollution

          procrastination

          lying

          laziness

          cigarette smoking

          sloppiness/disorganization

          mindless eating

          mindless everything

          serial dating

          sexual diseases

          any & all sensation-seeking behavior

          low self esteem

          immediate gratificationMany businesses also fail due to being hooked on the fleeting feel-good of immediate gratification. They hire super quickly – to fill that empty spot – then get stuck with employees they don’t want – but don’t fire them – because they don’t want to deal with filling another empty spot. They make safe choices for each quarter – instead of bolder choices that will benefit the company in the longer-term. They reach for quick-fixes, instead of putting in the work of finding out the systemic cause to their problems – which is usually some form of seeking immediate gratification.

          There’s a plethora of problems we create due to immediate gratification – and they’re only increasing as our world speeds up each technologically-advancing day.

          For eons we humans have wanted our desires to be satisfied right away. Well, we now finally live in an eon which can satisfy our urge for urgency.

          We’ve become addicted to our gadgets. We love the instant-feel-good of our cellphones  – often over the longer-term benefits of taking the time to meet up with loved ones in person – or even spending time alone, sitting, reflecting, thinking.

          Presently the U.S. is dealing with many problems due to people being hooked on wanting that “immediate gratification high”: financial problems, environmental problems, immediate gratificationecological problems, health problems, obesity problems, crime problems, etc…

          Plus, each year these problems just keep getting worst – because we’re ironically seeking “immediate gratification solutions” to the very problems created by our addiction to immediate gratification!

          The time has come to fully recognize that speed-centric methods just can’t fix the mess we’re in.

          We need to slow down and dig down! We need to take mindful time to make more conscious, long-term-focused choices –  in health, education, business, relationships, financial matters, parenting, etc.

          Hear this now:

          The ability to delay gratification is the most important life skill we must all learn to embrace –  if we want to ensure living a happy, satisfying and successful life – plus ensure we do not destroy our planet.

          I will be writing more about this incredibly important subject – in a series of essays. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be sure you get notice of the next essay. In the meantime, click here plus also over here to read 2 essays with “quick” tips for “slowing down”! And if you’re seeking psychological tools to resist the immediate gratification pull for food, click here now!

          Dealing with toxic people: friends, lovers, family members, work people?  Want tools to let go and heal – and strategies to find and maintain happier relationships? Join me and my fellow Oprah columnist Andrea Syrtash in a new online course called NO MORE TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS – which starts April 1st. You can join us live – or do the online course at your own pace and convenience. Click here to find out more! Plus – if you register soon we’re offering a HUGE discount!

          TWEET THIS NOW: How Immediate Gratification Has Created Pretty Much Every Problem You’ve Ever Had – And The World Now Has Too @notsalmon

          I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about immediate gratification?  Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

           

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            One Of My Favorite Stress Reducing Tools

            stress reducing toolsSeeking stress reducing tools? Read on…

            If you’ve just undergone a very distressing experience, try switching your lens on the world! Here’s a quickie Buddhist tale on this topic to explain what I mean a bit more – and to inspire you to take action!

            One day a very wealthy man took his son on a trip to the country, to live a few days on the farm with a very poor family.

            His goal:

            Teach his son how it was to be poor.

            Upon their return, the father asked his son, “So, what did you learn about what it means to be poor?”

            The son answered, “I learned that we have one dog. They have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden. They have a creek with no end. We have imported lanterns. They have an abundance of stars at night. We have a small piece of land to live on. They have fields that go beyond our sight. We buy our food. They grow theirs. We have walls around our property. They have friends to protect them.”

            stress reducing toolsThe boy’s father was speechless.

            “Yes, Dad,” said the son, “You showed me how poor WE truly are.”

            I love this Buddhist story! It’s a great reminder that you must decide (right now!) to open your eyes a bit wider and try to see whatever stressful situation you’re in from another perspective.

            As Marcel Proust said: “The voyage of true discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.”

            And now…for one of my favorite stress reducing tools…

            Grab a journal or a piece of paper and write at the top of the page the words “New Eyes.” Take 15 minutes to brainstorm new ways to think about whatever is getting you upset. Ask yourself: “What’s a gain in my pain?” “What else could this situation be about – other than the negative meaning I’m giving it?” “How might someone other than me describe this situation – so it has a positive context?” “What would Oprah say?”  Or… “What would Karen Salmansohn say!” LOL :)

            Remember: With “new eyes” and an open mind you can create a new reality.

            TWEET THIS NOW:  Seeking stress reducing tools? Check out this essay from @notsalmon

            Say NO to TOXIC people – with empowering tools from an online course called NO MORE TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS. Learn how to recognize and avoid toxic people of all kinds: friends, lovers, family members, work people, etc Join me and my good friend and colleague Andrea Syrtash for this free online webinar. Click here for more info. 

            I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about stress reducing tools?  Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, it boosts your happiness when you write down your thoughts right away after reading something – because it helps to engrave your positive takeaway into your permanent positive belief system! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! Anywhichway, thanks for reading – and adding your loving insights! 

            CONTINUE READING

              A Self Love Reminder

              self love reminder

              A self love reminder – to watch the words you think – because they become the actions and habits you do!

              TWEET THIS NOW: What are the most powerful words in the world? The ones you use to talk to yourself. @notsalmon

              Are you talking to yourself with love when you’re stressed and anxious? Stop emotional eating, binge eating – and just plain ol’ eating crappy food. Get tools to self-love your way to your healthiest self! Slim down and tone up – for good – with The Do It Program. Already this life-changing online program has helped 100’s of people shred 100’s of pounds – and keep it off! You can watch The Do It Program on any kind of computer or idevice – at your convenience and pace! Click for more info – and to hear my personal story of weight loss!

              I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read this self love reminder? Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these inspirational essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen

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