I just read an article exploring habits of most successful people. When sharing some unique training habits of Sugar Ray Leonard, the all-time pro boxer, he stated “My generation isn’t used to instant gratification.”

My generation isn’t used to instant gratification.”

This statement really struck me, and provoked some questions worth considering:

If we weren’t a generation so used to instant gratification and so trained in expecting immediate results…

  • what would our work ethic look like?
  • where would we gain our motivation from?
  • how much more successful could we be?
  • what potential could we realize?
  • how much healthier could we be?
  • how much happier might we be?

As I coach people to better fitness, nutrition and health, I see daily how important immediate results are for continued motivation and focus.

The impact of needing immediate results….

When results are seen quickly, motivation to continue our actions is high. As results begin to slow however, motivation often wanes. Feelings of disappointment can creep in along with old habits or cessation of actions that were supporting our initial success. Together this combo not only destroys any gains we did make, but also any possible ones we would have made.

Impact of needing instant gratification…

I also see how we stray from our long term vision and goals with the need for instant gratification. For example, at restaurants how often do you choose a meal for instant gratification, over a healthier choice with greater capacity to deliver the long-term experience you actually desire? All too often our need for instant gratification outweighs even our strongest desires, leaving us unhappy, unhealthy and struggling.

With the rise of technology, instant gratification and immediate results have become so part of our culture, our expectations and our needs. Without being used to instant gratification, Sugar Ray Leonard didn’t give working hard to chase his dream a second thought. He didn’t require immediate results or instant gratification to keep up his training. He chased the school bus to school every day despite rain, snow or other weather conditions. He trained day in and out, putting in his efforts despite repeatedly being told he didn’t have what it took to become a champion boxer.

If your thinking was more like Sugar Ray Leonard’s, and not be dependent on instant gratification or immediate results for maintaining your motivation and going after your dream, what might be possible for you?

What, just what, might you achieve?