100 Things I wish my Dad Taught Me. Episode 17. “Whatever you put energy into today produces results tomorrow.”

Today I wish my dad had taught me this “Whatever you put energy into today produces results tomorrow.” The reason is very clear. For most of my first 30 years of life I vacillated between the discipline for the long term and the enjoyment of the short term. That’s the cause of noise in the mind, and I love inner peace, or better put, inner groundedness.

I’m not alone in this confusion. But I was a little extreme in it. I had the discipline of a tiger when it came to the long term but I also had the narcissism of a hyena when it came to the short term. Instantaneous gratification always wrestled with my commitments. When I mastered these two polar opposites I came to realise that they are both important.

So, rather than dwell here on the symptoms of instantaneous gratification and how it challenged my commitments, let me share the solution. I do both now. But I never delude myself that what I do short term, instantaneous gratification has no impact on the long term.

The sherpa of the Himalayas believe that nature is a part of human existence. If you piss on a tree, the tree, through nature, will piss on you. When something goes wrong up in the mountains, there’s an immediate question, what did you do to earn that bad situation. They always link cause (past behaviour) to effect (current reality). But they are not alone.

Most religions have the payback system built into their philosophy. Sin causes retribution by some sort of Godhead. And the laws that run our world have the link clearly made that if you mess up in the short term, we are coming to get you so you pay in the long term.

So, if there’s one thing I needed to accept from my early life and change for the rest of my life it was that every action for instantaneous gratification has a long term result. Cause and effect. But what I was unaware of was the subtly of the equation.

You wake up with a hangover. That’s exactly short term gratification with long term consequences because you might think that the hangover is the worst of it. But I’m here to say, and validated, that not only does partying or celebrating the day with short term gratification give you a hangover, it impacts your relationship with your partner, your kids, yourself long term, your DNA, your body and your mind, long term. Especially over the age of 40.

There’s two sides to everything, especially short term gratification, narcissism. Let’s take a few examples. I have had short term relationships with nymphomaniac women. OMG, at first, it’s fantastic. Couldn’t believe my luck, but the cost is how volatile, no let’s call it what it is, crazy emotionally needy, such people are. As high as they get emotionally and sexually, as low and dark and mean and horrible they get to balance it. That is a very addictive personality, the pleasure hunter. It’s certainly a narcissism and the long term never matters to them until it arrives. So, the short term gratification is both the pleasure we want and the pain that comes with it that we didn’t want. Sort of like ice-cream.

But it works the other way too. I had a friend who died of pure boredom. She married a man who was obsessed with the long term, wealth creation, and always thinking about spending every cent because he feared the long term. She unfortunately was trapped in a web of her own choosing to follow and comply, to imitate and envy him, to try to make two people one person by complying with his values. Her instantaneous gratification was reduced to television and wine. Both of which, played a role in her early passing at a very young age.

So, the mastery of life is the mastery of the short term and the long. When I walked into the Darwin Casino and placed $100 on number 13, my total and only bid for the night, I won $3200 if I remember rightly. I walked away from the table cashed the chips and went home. I banked $1600 into the mortgages account and spent the rest on gifts. Short term and long term.

The mastery of relationships is the same. Short term pleasure and long term gain. Not short term pain and long term gain. Not long term pain and short term gain. Instantaneous gratifications and long term associations are of equal importance. So, can you align them?

If I do in the short term what benefits me in the long term, I have everything don’t I? I mean if I can have short term gratitifications that cause the thing I want in the long term, I’m in paradise. And that’s the magic.

In order to do that there’s a list of things you’ll need to have:

  1. An end goal, a single, Mt Everest of your ambitions. Call it a purpose if you want but please don’t say “happy family” or “global peace” they are both short term gratifications. Remembering you can’t give what you haven’t got so if your Mt Everest is about doing something for others, you can only do it to the degree you do it to yourself. That’s such an important awareness. Want to change the lives of a million people as a leader, change the lives of a million cells in your own body first.
  2. A middle ground set of goals in the range of 2-3 years. But this comes with a few caveats. There are seven areas of life so there are at least 7 goals. Emotional feelings like loving, close, happy, kind are not goals. And, most importantly, there are no other people in your goals. They are about you. And you can, if one goal is travel the world, invite someone to come. Not, have the goal to include them. The poison of middle ground goals is the word “we.”
  3. Short term goals. 6 Months to 1 year. These goals are super important. They must follow the SMART rules and be well considered. They must link as stepping stones to the middle ground goals and again exclude the “WE”.
  4. Habits are the instantaneous gratification we speak of. Like 4 great sex sessions a week. (alone or with someone cannot be defined). Fitness is a habit. Self discovery is a habit. Evolving at work is a habit. And there are at least 21 habits you can master as a lead in to instantaneous gratification. If there are no boundaries around seeking pleasure, you’ll have a nightmare to match your fanfare.

Enjoy the day. Work out how to do what you love and love what you do regardless of what it is you do. Learn to be adaptable but be disciplined in your search for short term gratification otherwise the following quote will become your self talk.





With Spirit


That’s the end of 100 Things I wish my Dad Taught Me. Episode 17. “Whatever you put energy into today produces results tomorrow.”

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