c. It is necessary to put in the effort now to get a reward later
Many people say that they would like something to happen in the future but do not put the effort into the current situation to bring about the future that they want to see for themselves. We cannot change our future circumstances without doing something in the future. If a teenager wants to work in a particular profession not only do they need to work out what they want to do they also need to plan a strategy to fulfil that desire. Often this means gaining certain grades in certain subjects in the external exams they take at both 16 and 18 whether these are GCSEs, A levels or diplomas. To achieve these grades they normally need to study for four years. Four years of completing homework, reading text books writing essays etc. instead of doing other things with their time that they might rather do. This is a classic case of doing something now not for the reward that it brings now but for the required that it brings in the future.
Deferring gratification like this requires self control. It is often the result of being focused on a particular outcome in the future and not letting anything get in the way of working towards the desired outcome. Remember back in chapter one we looked at some of the common factors in the lives of successful people and we noted that people who were successful used the opportunities they had to practise and practise. Their success came because they were willing to practise and build up their skills.
It is necessary to be willing to work towards changing things in the future for them to change. Yet it is very easy to say it is too hard to do that. It is as if we erect a stop sign and say we will not go any further. We say things like I can’t do this because… or I will do this once they do… or I don’t have to do anything because I am not to blame for what is happening. If the desire to achieve something is strong enough then we will find ways to do so whatever the cost in the present.