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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wait ... Wait .... Wait

How skilled are you at postponing gratification? Who or what helped you develop the skill? How has the value of postponing gratification shown up in your life? 

It's likely the most formative link in my ability to postpone gratification was having parents who lived through the Great Depression. One of my earliest memories is hearing my folks continually stress the importance of  "saving for a rainy day". Even though I subsequently overdid the saving bit a little - sometimes not fully enjoying what I'd earned - it would have been a whole lot worse had I ignored my parent's early guidance and not learned the value of postponing gratification. How effective was the earliest modeling you got in this skill?

And though I didn't start out learning to play a musical instrument thinking it would help fortify this skill, that is precisely what happened. The intrinsic rewards connected to all those hours of solitary practice were never quite adequate for young adult Pat. The extrinsic rewards - when there were any - were far removed from those solitary hours. Net result: More skill at postponing gratification.  

At almost 66, I now understand that my increasing skill at postponing gratification assisted me countless times to push through my frustration - itself an inescapable element of getting better at any instrument. It would be difficult to over-state how valuable that lesson has been for me.   

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