Success is a by product of delayed gratification

April 26, 2014

Success is not about what you achieve. It is about achieving what you are capable of achieving. But does anyone know what he or she is capable of achieving? Not really! This is the concept that Joe De Sena presents in his book – The Spartan Up! The book is co-authored by Jeff O’Connell.

Spartan warriors of ancient Greece have inspired generations. They trained hard for years. Their motto was: never be satisfied with what you achieve. In 1972, Walter Mischel, a Stanford researcher, gave his child subjects their preferred treat—a marshmallow, cookie, or pretzel but with a choice: They could eat the treat right away or wait 15 minutes, at which point they could receive two. The researchers found that those kids who were willing to postpone gratification became more successful adults than those kids who couldn’t. Joe puts it well: success is a by product of delayed gratification. This is so true. When we look around we find so people who look successful, yet they are not happy. They are not happy because they have not realized their full potential. They felt satisfied too early in life, stopped running after achieving a milestone.

True, going to the next level requires one to try harder, face discomforts and cross hurdles. According to a racing proverb, “You run the first half with your legs, the second half with your mind.” Joe says his book is really about the second half of the race. When I asked him to illustrate this point further, he said, “No matter how fit I was at any point in my life, I have hit a wall with my body and endurance… when I do my mind needs to take over. I was doing the Iditarod by foot and at mile 300, I was done. I did not want to take another step…then my partner collapsed and wanted to be left in the snow…I tied him to me and pulled him through the snow to the next town. I didn’t have the energy to this but my mind did!”

You may not win every race or overcome every obstacle but each attempt can be a profound learning experience. Joe’s ideas are not just tips from a self-help guru. As he relates his own adventures of Spartan races, his ideas are more inspiring. It tells you the recipe to success and emphasises the importance of hard work. The Spartan Up! – is not just to be read- its concepts are to be applied in life – by all.