It has always been easy to do something which will give us an instant pleasure; that kind of behaviour is deeply embedded in our DNA and it helped us to survive and extend the species. Even today, when survival and reproduction are much simpler than they used to be, the greatest pleasures come from food and sex.
On the other hand, long-term pleasures enabled us to dominate all other animals. Thanks to those people who sacrificed their present for a better future, we now have the technology which makes our lives much easier.
As much as technology improves our lives, it also makes them much more difficult because it offers some new, unexplored shapes of immediate pleasures which we can’t resist; we constantly check our emails, likes, comments, what’s new on YouTube…
Thanks to our new addictions, our long-term plans suffer the most. Writing a book, graduating from a college, or winning an Olympic medal is achieved by showing up every day and doing the hard work.
Preparing for a big event, like publishing a book, graduation day, or Olympic finals, often doesn’t bring much pleasure; the most of our pleasures come from achieving these goals.
In order to succeed at long-term projects, to resist the temptations of a modern age, it is necessary to celebrate small victories.
If you’re writing a book, celebrate each page; if you’re studying for an exam, celebrate each day you spent learning something; if you want an Olympic medal, celebrate each training session.
Once you teach your mind that the little thing which you did today matters a lot for the big thing which is coming in the future, it will be much easier to enter into the new small battles and win them.