S & H Greenpoints. You can join & get points when you shop at 100s of online stores. They will even allow you to redeem old books of stamps if you have any. Computers have also streamlined the process for grocery stores. Now, when you check out, the cashier asks whether you have a Stop & Shop Gas Rewards Card or CVS Extra Care Rewards, two I happen to have. The computer tracks your purchases. With your receipt you get printed coupons with discounts on items the store thinks you might like to buy in the future. Sometimes, if you have purchased enough from the store, they give you $5 or $10 off your next purchase. How many times have you have tossed those receipts into your purse or wallet & forgotten about them till they have already expired or just tossed them directly into the trash as you leave the store? Easy come, easy go.
Groupon & Living Social's deal of the day. These programs will customize the offers you receive to get discounts in stores near where you live or work when you sign up at these sites. With these internet offers, products & services are sold at 1/2 or even more off for a limited time. The web pages advertizing these offers even show a clock ticking away the remaining days, hours, minutes, & seconds until the deal expires. It also lets you know how many people have taken advantage of this amazing vacation, meal, or spa treatment since it went live. They encourage you to tell your friends about the offer for additional discounts. They make sure to inform you that although you have a year to use the coupon, the offer will be gone soon, so hurry up & take advantage of it NOW.
Have we lost the ability to, as psychologists say, "delay or defer gratification?" In child development theory, newborns have no concept of waiting for rewards. They cry, are fed, burped, changed, & comforted by their parents. At first, they do not even realize that their mother is a separate person. From a baby's perspective, "I cry & instantly, magically my needs are met." As a child grows, a major part of parents' responsibility include teaching a child to wait for or delay gratification.
In addition, if we expect immediate results, we may become disappointed when they don't happen as quickly as we thought they would. We may assume we are failures when in reality, our only failure is not having the patience to keep experimenting & the perseverance it takes to reach our goals. "More than two-thirds of Danes report being “very satisfied with their lives,” according to the Eurobarometer Survey, a figure that has held steady for more than 30 years." When researchers try to explain this phenomenon they believe that, "the answer is, in a word, expectations. Danes have low expectations and so “year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find out that not everything is rotten in the state of Denmark,” says James W. Vaupel, a demographer who has investigated Danish bliss."
I don't believe we need to lower our expectations of life. On the contrary, we need to increase our expectations, but we need to learn how to wait & defer gratification. While you save for & work towards your dreams, you can adjust the plans rather than abandon them. Sometimes this process leads to accomplishing even better things than you first imagined.
As always, I look forward to your thought & comments. Have you seen benefits in waiting, working & saving for your dreams? I'd love to hear about your experiences.