Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Delayed gratification, problem avoidance

I saw this link on Tyler Cowen’s blog. It is a study which suggests that an ability to delay gratification is a very strong indicator of income - more than age, integrity, or height.

This also got me to thinking about problem avoidance, but I wasn’t able to find any studies about problem avoidance and income. My guess is that solving problems quickly instead of avoiding them is also a strong indicator of income. 

It seems to me that there is a two-order effect at play. If you delay gratification, you invest for harder to achieve, but better rewards. This leads to good results.

But also, if you are able to delay gratification, you also know that you are capable of delaying gratification. That builds confidence for future decisions. It’s a ratchet with positive effects.  

It’s the opposite ratchet for problem avoidance. Not only does avoiding problems make them harder to solve, you’ll also know that you failed to address that problem promptly the next time around. That breeds a cycle of doubt, and more problem avoidance. Then the problems pile up and you’re in an overwhelming amount of problem debt.

It seems to me that delayed gratification  and problem avoidance are two sides of the same very important coin. 

How do you do it? This requires a much longer explanation but I’ve come to think that forgiveness, constant exploration, and listening all play a big part.