#1343 Immediate Gratification

From Doing the Right Thing for the Win!

In our last few +1s, we’ve been talking about The Law of Cause and Effect.

We started with Michael Singer’s wisdom. Then we went old school with Jesus and Epictetus.

I promised we’d talk about what modern SCIENCE has to say about applying the basic ideas of The Law of Cause and Effect to the process of optimizing our lives.

That’s what we’ll do Today.



As we journey back from 2,000 years ago to today, let’s pause briefly and see what another one of my favorite teachers had to say about the subject.

In 1841, the great American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay called “Compensation” in which he did his thing by integrating wisdom from the East with our Western perspective.

He tells us: “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”


There you go.

The Law of Cause and Effect.


On to the science!

Here’s the short story.

Research shows that people who can MAKE THE CONNECTION between the things they do and the Energy/Productivity/Connection they feel NOW are MUCH MORE likely to actually DO THE THINGS they say they want to do than people who don’t make that connection.

Michelle Segar calls it having “the right why.”

In her great book, No Sweat, she tells us that people who succeed in consistently engaging in healthy behaviors like eating well, moving their bodies and getting good sleep have CONCRETE goals rather than abstract goals.

When you ask people who ACTUALLY DO the things they know are best for them, they will, essentially, tell you that the reason they do them is TO FEEL GREAT NOW.

Unfortunately, most of us (75% of the people in her research!) have abstract goals like “getting healthier” or “losing weight.”

Those might be good reasons but they’re not EFFECTIVE reasons.

As it turns out, Michelle tells us that: “The vast majority of the participants whose goals were weight loss and better health spent the least amount of time exercising overall—up to 32 percent less than those with other goals.”


Because the people who ACTUALLY did the things that were good for them made CONCRETE connections between what they did and how they felt.

They exercised to enhance the quality of their daily lives—to create a sense of well-being, a feeling of being energized and centered. They found a way to get *immediate* gratification out of their exercise—which is a LOT more effective than pursuing some future, abstract target.

As Michelle tells us: “Human beings, it turns out, are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over long-term benefits.”

She describes the “lose weight” and “get healthy” goals as too fuzzy and abstract and clinical and calls them the “Wrong Why.” When we lead with those Whys, our exercise becomes a chore— which then leads to a failure. Who does chores with sustained enthusiasm?!


Want to give yourself the best chance at getting more Energized, Productive, and Connected by doing the things that will help you enjoy those fruits of your Heroic behaviors?


MAKE THE CONNECTION between what you do RIGHT NOW and how you feel RIGHT AFTER.

Then give yourself the gift of Heroic levels of Energy, Productivity, and Connection.

The Law of Cause and Effect.

Let’s use it.

And change our lives.


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