Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

I read somewhere that discipline is the act of exchanging that which you want right now in exchange for that which you want the very most of all.

What that really means is that discipline is often a function of delaying gratification.  If the 21st century has been good at nothing else, it has made instant (as in right, freakin’ now) attainable like never before.  Amazon (aka “Crackazon”) will now deliver a whole range of goods to your door the same day you order..  Not tomorrow, today.  Or perhaps, I need to work on my client project but the new episode of Game of Thrones is on HBO online right now.

This does not bode well for persons whose ability to delay gratification is somewhat suspect, which in reality means all of us.  Most successful people, including most financially successful people, would attribute at least part of their success to maintaining a discipline, be it in saving, investing, working for income, and other behaviors whose rewards sit somewhere off in the future.  We want what we want, and we want it now.

I have been good at delaying gratification in my athletic training.  As the finisher of 17 marathons, I understand that each race and training cycle requires discrete acts over a four month period that offer little reward by themselves.  The physical and emotional payoff of race day must be quite powerful to overcome the daily inertia to do what is required.

Over time, I came to look forward to the training and the process as much as the race. As I type this I am looking forward to my interval workout at the high school track this evening.  When the journey becomes the destination, the rewards are always close at hand.

Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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