March 30: You Cannot Succeed at Anything Without . . .
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I’ve always been fascinated with people who are excellent at something, world-class at something, or phenomenally successful at something. And it’s fascinating to me to see the similarities between people who are phenomenally successful in business and people who are phenomenally successful in sport and people who become saints.
There tends to be these themes, there tends to be these connections between all of these things. One of those themes that has just continued to strike me throughout my life as I have explored the lives of successful people is the theme of delayed gratification.
It would seem to me that you cannot be successful at anything without delaying gratification. Success doesn’t just show up and make itself yours. There’s a process you go through to be excellent at something, and that process always requires delayed gratification.
If someone sets out to become a saint, guess what? There’s a lot of delayed gratification there. And if someone sets out to be successful in business or successful in sport, guess what? There’s a lot of delayed gratification there.
You can’t be successful in marriage unless you’re willing to delay gratification. It’s not possible. You can’t be a great parent unless you’re willing to delay gratification, because the sense is just to embrace whatever feels good and whatever seems good. But sometimes you realize, “Whoa, I’ve gotta hold back a little bit here.” Sometimes you realize, “You know what, loving my child is not giving my child this thing, loving my child is not giving my child this thing.”
The Church wants you to experience excellence in everything you do. The Church wants you to become the-best-version-of-yourself. There’s genius in Catholicism, and it is phenomenally practical. And who else for two thousand years has been saying, “Delayed gratification is one of the keys to living a happy, fulfilling life”? Nobody. It’s unpopular sometimes to announce the truth. And it’s certainly unpopular at this time in history to announce, “Hey, delayed gratification is a path to happiness, a path to excellence.” But the Church is always there.
And so as we make this journey together, I think it is important for us to ask ourselves, “OK, how do we delay gratification? And why does it matter? And how is not delaying our gratification hurting us? Or how has not delaying our gratification in the past hurt us?” Because I think the first thing is that you’ve got to be really convinced that this concept is real—that there’s truth in it, that there’s wisdom in it. Because you’re not going to apply the concept powerfully into your life unless you have that belief.
Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness
You cannot succeed at anything unless you are willing to delay gratification. This ability and success are intimately linked.
Say no to yourself at least once every day.
Jesus, I want to deny my false self so I can find my true self. Grant me the strength and the courage to trust that delaying gratification leads to happiness.
Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Dr. Allen Hunt. Allen is our senior advisor, coming to us from Atlanta, Georgia. Allen once was a drummer, likes to eat nachos three times a week, fondly remembers the days he had hair, and has visited every state except Nebraska.
How do you practice self denial?
Let us know in the comments!