Delayed Gratification

I was just about to write on how I abhor traveling in the US and rather to invest that amount of money, but I guess this topic significantly cover what we are going to discuss in that post.

I read that the ability to delay gratification is a form of intelligence. Many old words suggest this wisdom. Remember the pantun of “Bersusah-susah dahulu”? If we take time to see what is happening around us, we would notice that a lot of things that we are doing are some kind of delaying gratification.

For example, some people refuse to eat today to get a better/healthy body tomorrow. They call it dieting. In more subtle example, why we are pursuing our study right now? For some, it’s to get a much better paying job in the future. Instead of having satisfaction right now (by doing what we like), we are using that time to get a better education in hope of being able to have more satisfaction in the future by having more money/time from better jobs.

And the most important to us Muslims, to submit to God, by doing what He told us to do, and leave what He forbade is the greatest delayed gratification of all and most rewarding too.
The real question here is not why but how much; and which gratification you do want to delay and which you don’t.
It’s relatively easy to answer if you asked financially because you are dealing with measurable risk and profit. But in other aspect of life where emotions, memories, youth, friendships,pride take place, the answer will determine who you are and how you lead your life.

If you would like to help me answer these questions (which have no right or wrong ):

1) Would you spend USD3000 to travel to Europe , or you would you invest that much of money and travel around the world 20 years later?

2) Would you like to drive Honda Civic starting at your age of 25, or would you like to ride a kancil until you get a Carrera at your age of 45?

Well, those are just my make-up examples. But do comment, I just want to know what others are thinking.

  1. #1 by velo on January 12, 2007 - 9:09 pm

    Yeap, Irwan, there is no one good answer to your question. It depends on a lot of factors, like how one perceives the “value” of money, how rich is the person, at what life stage is the person…etc. For me, i think “moderate” is the key. Try to achieve a good balance between lavish and meagre at any time and under any condition.

    If I were to face this scenario, I will:
    1) still go to travel now but will cut on the travel expense by selecting moderate type of accomodation, food, traveling mode or even places…etc that you feel you can accept and still have a enjoyable journey. Don’t wait for 20 years as one will never know if he/she will still alive after that. Besides, the experience you will get now is very different from what you will experience after 20 years. Don’t live to be regret!

    2) will not buy the Civic as I think it will be too much for a young chap at age 25 but will spend on another lower budget but safe car, eg. Honda City.

    However, for the 2 answers above, there is also 2 rules that I strongly urge you to consider not to violate, they are:

    1) Don’t go to travel with money that you have to borrow, not even a single sen! If you have to borrow to go traveling, that simply means you are not afford to do that. You need to strive harder to save up the money first!

    2) For those who stay in Malaysia, don’t buy car that costs more than your 1 year income. If you have to stretch your credit and take a huge loan for the car, it also simply means that the car is not for your “class”. Work harder to improve your annual income first before even try to think of it!

    One has to live realistically within his/her mean. If you are not satisfied with your current condition, work harder. This is the principal I am holding to avoid myself get trapped into financial disaster, which one will have to spend long long time to fix it after only some short stint of funs.

  2. #2 by Irwan on January 12, 2007 - 10:50 pm

    yeah.. that’s what i thought about life. you can’t live with just a single rule.

    sometimes you have to follow your heart.
    sometimes your brain.
    or your friends.
    sometimes you have to do something crazy.
    sometimes you have to sacrifice. sometimes you don’t.
    sometimes you have to act rich, sometimes be miskin.
    sometimes you have to accept you can’t do anything about it.
    and sometimes you have to play games even the next day is the final. haha

    your 2 rules are full of wisdom.

  3. #3 by nisa on January 15, 2007 - 4:21 am

    Ellops! i’m interested to answer those questions, lol. I will definitely not spend that huge amount of money for a trip to europe but I will still go on vacations occasionally (especially around the US). Since I’m studying in the US, why don’t i travel around, getting some knowledge on the country i’m studying in. we could observe the technologies around and also the way other people do business. that is some kind of investment too.

    besides, when i’m forty, i won’t have as much time as i have right now to be spent on lengthy holidays..i have a company and a whole big family to look after. lol. maybe at that time, i’ll spend more on vacations in malaysia. i might also not have the strength to go on full length excitement that time (tell me whose mother go on roller coasters at the age of forty. lol)

    besides, everyone has to take a break off their routine and in a survey conducted ( i forgot which edition of Inc.), spending some money on holidays or a massage will greatly improve one’s productivity. even companies are advised to spend some money on giving their workers a massage occasionally since it will boost their productivity. Some kind of investment too.

    So, i guess, taking a holiday is an investment in ourselves too, since we’ll be more productive to study. as for me, i regretted studying for the whole year of 2006 from the start of january intersession until near the end of december without ever taking a break even during summer.arghh… and as a result, i got 3 C’s, which I have never gotten before. So, go for holiday!!

    well, as for the car, i don’t really care what car i’m going to use as long as it is safe, fit my budget (petrol and all) and in good condition. so, of course kancil is not in my list since i’ll just get myself sandwiched if i ever involved in an accident. and i know guys love cars, lol. but girls are different. i would love a bungalow =P.

  4. #4 by Azrul on January 15, 2007 - 10:59 am

    1) Would you spend USD3000 to travel to Europe , or you would you invest that much of money and travel around the world 20 years later?

    Depending on how much money you have now… if you have USD3010 then you should invest it, don’t even think of the vacation… if say you have 30000, you can think about it… if you have 80000 then it’s your heart’s “modest” desire…

    20 years later??? The excitement won’t be the same when you are young… may be different kind of excitement but I dare not risk delaying youthful gratifications…

    I am 24 and this is the time when young people throng to see the world and find themselves… and AirAsia… How thankful I am to thee:)

  5. #5 by Irwan on January 15, 2007 - 3:38 pm

    thanks for your time xpressing your thoughts. I really got something to learn from both of you.

    I heard my friends said they just study here to get good job in the future. It isn’t a proper niat but I could hardly deny that I do think that way too. Maybe all of us are drawn to a system that education = money but not necessarily = knowledge.

    A very interesting notion from Nisa. Vacation = investment in self. I haven’t thought it that way. And maybe I can apply it to my daily gaming session right? haha like dota or something. But not too much.

    Both of you point out that excitement that is 20-years-later might not be as valuable as it is today. that’s absolutely true. Time plays important role, especially in this topic. Driving a Merc in 20s is not the same as in 50s, is it?

    Just to share an experience, I think me buying an xbox360 is one of the best decision in my life so far. It’s not that I’m childish or over-value what is not important in my life/career. But come to think again, when is another time that you could spend hours in a day having fun with your friends that have the same interest, same age maybe and same maturity. You won’t find yourselves in that situation again after you have a job or after you married. This is the only time when time is never enough but you still spend some of it to play with your friends, having fun and worried about unfinished homework together after that. I think it’s totally worth it.

  6. #6 by tasia on January 15, 2007 - 8:51 pm

    TOTAL delayed gratification makes you dull. All works and no play certainly kill the Johny’s excitement right ;). However, delayed gratification helps to discipline yourself. When you learn to say no to yourself, you will eventually master the evil in you. AND it helps you to understand your current limitations and shortcomings. Then this will help you to make a better strategy on how to best realize your dreams.

    Macam jawap soalan SPM nih, but anyway..

    My answers to your questions
    1) Would you spend USD3000 to travel to Europe , or you would you invest that much of money and travel around the world 20 years later?
    I will spend RM 3000 to travel around Malaysia or if Im lucky I can go to our neighboring countries. Europe will have to wait first because I simply cannot afford to spend that much money. Say I am willing to save RM 100 per month for my long waiting Europe tour, it’ll take me around 10 years to save up that much money. So it’s still possible right ;).

    2) Would you like to drive Honda Civic starting at your age of 25, or would you like to ride a kancil until you get a Carrera at your age of 45?
    Personally, Im not into cars. My rule of thumb on the car that I can afford is, it should not be more than 1/5 of my salary or if I can afford to to pay the car loan in 5 years, (without killing myself and my bank account) than that’s the car for me.

    Irwan, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us :).

  7. #7 by timmy on January 16, 2007 - 4:26 am

    Since you have promoted this blog at ym. Geram lak. Felt like obligated to comment sth. firstly, thanks for reminding abt the phrase’ bersusah-susah dahulu, bersenang2 kemudian.’ kinda forgot that useful phrase. damnit tim!

    Delayed Gratification.. ehem ehem ehem. since small, I saw many contractors falling down because once they got high profit, they just simply spent on cars, bungalow, family and many more. Once you fall down, it’s hard to get up again. Also I saw few contractors who are understand abt Delayed Gratification. It took them more than 20 years to be stable and maintained. However, the process of 20 years is not a short time. You have to engage with many things. Strong in mind but at the same time not wasting your youth for the sake of financial freedom in the future. I experienced by my self one dedicated contractor who spent his money to travel maybe 2/3 times every year but really particular abt how he and his family spend the money. he’s really strict abt money management. But he manages to balance both sides. and not many people can do such thing. I wish I know what inspires him to do such thing.

    and I guess for each person, everyone has different issues within his/her own life. and this topic is kinda subjective. If you want me to choose either go to europe or invest the money for the future benefits. I will choose tour europe. Simply because I know what I will do in the future, and the only time I have is now. money is just an idea. it won’t bring any good to me if i am not happy. and i came here not because i want to have good salary in the future. but i want to learn and to gain experience so that one day i can benefit others. benefit others can be either be a millionaire who gives job oppurtunities to thousands of people (cewah.. tinggi cita2) or just be a kindergarten teacher who teaches future leaders abt the values of life. Either way benefits me and the rest. Maybe it’s differrent for you Irwan since you have different background than mine.

    As long as you know what you are doing now is right, and confident abt it, and that’s your dream, also it’s not wrong from the side of Islamic view, why not just go for it. Start chasing your dream today as you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

    Don’t do something that you don’t like just because many people do it. Is that the pride that you want to hold? Life is short, but it can be great if you spend your life with what you want. ( Kan aku dah merepek. )

    Adios amigos.

    p/s : I would definitely buy Honda Civic at the age of 25 if that is what i really want to. I just have to extremely work hard for my dream to come true. Well, I like to play with risk. Damn it TiM, risk taker always fails.. Haha

  8. #8 by Piji on January 23, 2007 - 9:45 pm

    carrera is an absolute no-no to be driven in malaysia. unless you are super-rich or selling exotic cars (mcm Tan Sri Nasimuddin), coz the roads are not long enuf for malaysian drivers to “feel” the car (top speed approx. 300+ mph). that’s what i think =D.

  9. #9 by raden on January 26, 2007 - 12:05 pm

    for the first question it depends on the person…if the person is understand europe very well like history…he wants to go there for a visit…perhaps going there now is better since you go with your friends unlike in another 20 years u probably go with ur family….the fun going with friends is differ than family… of course going with family is better but when will u get the opportunity to go with friends…travel in usa is ok but every place is the same unlike europe each country have different cultures…these experiences u never get in usa
    2nd question….kancil ti carrera…hahaha…lets put aside petrol…consider about the insurance which will be at least RM40,000 , road tax will close to RM 30,000, maintenance….hmmm…u have to wait the spare part from german, …so just get the M3…hahaha

  10. #10 by Sarah on February 2, 2007 - 7:25 am

    Firstly, I’m in the UK-so I’m changing the question to would I spend it to go to the US.

    I say, if you have the money, and you’re really itching to go, why not? of course, don’t go on borrowed money(as said by someone before me), its not good.. cause u’ll have to think of that debt when u’re done with ur holiday. (Much like the feeling u have if u’re under jpa or mara loan.. damn..)

    as for the car, i dont really care.. buy the car that u can actually afford. I’d rather invest on a property, pay for my kids’ trust funds, and go on that holiday to the US rather than splurge on a car.. But I know I most likely wont drive a kancil.. Then again, i’ve started saving, and am thinking of getting a car in the uk, and bring it home with me whne i graduate. its way cheaper. but that’s 5 years from now… no rush..

  11. #11 by tswenahir on February 4, 2007 - 6:09 pm

    Well… currently I am driving a 2003 660 Kancil, being used it up ever since i was in university… Really can’t afford a new car currently coz of the petrol hike ciss!!! Don’t even mentioned about maintenace! Now doing sales, and guess what? All my coll drives at least a Waja and the scariest most a BMW E46 328 (2nd hand lah :P). Even for the non exec in the factory none even dare to buy the lowest cc of perodua instead go for 850! Alamak to them la, do not even dare to ask them the loan they have to pay la. The powerful one for a non exec is a Honda Jazz (:| dun know how he can afford it). So at the end of the day, everybody laughs at me of owning the cheapest car in town (malu) . But looking at my savings, I have no regret at all paying cash to my kancil and enjoy every cents i saved!!! hahahha, maybe to some ppl dah oredi banned kancil ler so no comment on that larr 🙂 However,if ASB goes well along these up coming years, will probably buy a good car for myself and my family (BMW E90 and a BMW X5 – 10 years later) :). So I guess the term of “Bersusah susah dahulu” really really keep up my whole day bright 🙂 Thanks Irwan bro!!!


  12. #12 by Piji on February 5, 2007 - 2:14 pm

    There were some reported road incidents that involved some BMWs and Mercedes, against Honda and Protons. Sad to say, the passengers in the latters were at least heavily injured, but on the other hand, the ones riding in the big cars left unwounded. Yes, it is an act of God and we could also reflect that the accidents happened in a way that impacted more to one side. But could it be less distinctive, as far as lives of our family members are concerned? In short, get a nice car if you spend lots of time on the road. Remember that this is a country with one of the highest number of car crashes annually. Hey Irwan, can you put a new tag about automobiles? =D Thanks.

  13. #13 by tswenahir on February 5, 2007 - 10:52 pm

    That is absolutely Piji, but the same things goes if I’m gonna have a family, I would still go for big cars. I myself like to own a euroupean car (esp Merc and Bimmer) but that is still probably 10 years down the line. Thumbs up with Piji (Automobiles? ;))


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