zenhabits : breathe

Enjoy Life Now, AND Save for Later; or, Why Delayed Gratification is a False Dichotomy

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Often we’re told that we have to suffer now — give up what we want — in order to succeed later, that in order to save we must sacrifice. Give up instant gratification to get delayed gratification.

But you can do both.

For years, I was confused about this, as I read books and websites that sent me two different messages:

  1. Pleasure later. The first message was that in order to be successful, in order to build wealth, you have to delay gratification. You can’t have instant gratification and be successful.
  2. Pleasure now. The second message was usually from other sources on happiness, but sometimes from the same source: enjoy life now, while you can, because it’s short and you never know when your last day will come. Live every day like it’s your last.

Trouble is, I agree with both messages. And if you read this site often, you’ll see that I send both messages: Live frugally and simply! But also enjoy life!

That’s because I’ve reconciled the two philosophies into one: Live life now and enjoy it to the fullest — without destroying your future. The key to doing that? Find ways to enjoy life completely, utterly, maximally … that don’t cost your future very much.

Here are some tips for actually living that philosophy:



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