Dealing with trap of Delayed Gratification

So, there’s the problem: when you delay your gratifications too long, your logical chain of “Doing a job gets you to living good and having things” gets broken.

I literally refused an work offer half an hour ago. It required of me like 4-5 work hours and would have given me average russian’s pay for 2-4 work days. I couldn’t convince myself that i want the money enough to do it, so i would tolerate doing job for it - as opposed to spending my time without reward, but spending it as i want to.

I’m so used to delaying my gratifications that i got my own little house at 22, and my trading account has about 26 average monthly salaries right now.
All while i am sitting most of my time at my tiny home where there is a computer table, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a three steps between them all. I lived last 3 to 4 months on food stocks of rather cheap food, and i don’t even remember when i last bought clothes.
It seems stuff that gets average man happier already has zero effect on me. I don’t even want anything, looks like. I don’t want bigger house, or some newer car, or whatever else people brag about all the time. I have little, it gives me acceptable independence, and that’s enough.
I don’t even buy food that i want to eat right now - i buy food that has a discount today, in a reasonable quantity so i could eat it when i want when i already have it, for the next couple of weeks, or even months if it doesn’t spoil.

Most satisfactory things in a world for me today are facts and numbers. I get more brain reward when i learn something, rather than when i own something. Well, my parents were scientists, so it probably runs in the family, but i likely took it to extreme.

I can’t even say if i like this or not. It’s kind of like being superhuman, but then it’s kinda not really. I’m really falling out of contact with general mankind. With every day i feel that i understand fellow men worse, and they understand me worse.
And i didn’t really develop a way of dealing with me being a damned social animal. I even write this right now in a public space, but i could have done it in the diary of any sort.
I guess, i am replacing live interaction with other humans with books, games, videos, dreams, all kind of virtual encounters - because real encounters too often don’t bring brain satisfaction to all sides participating, and it feels like i squandered my energy on it, and can’t reload it to make experience better over time, or shut it down if it doesn’t seem salvageable.

I guess it’s related to ADHD in a way that we tend to go to extremities - stuff is either greatly exciting or greatly boring for us. We tend to either overconsuming, or oversaving. Working too much or too little. Or, it’s just my own flavor of ADHD. I was kind of extreme for all the time i remember myself.
In the end it worries me a bit, because i don’t really know any other person who’s living like this so i could relate to it.

Please tell me i’m not alone in this, and how do you handle the feeling of being an alien.


Not at all. I would not describe it in the same way you have but I think it’s similar. Specially when I was younger and learning how to get along in the world, I often felt that I was in a store window watching others through the glass walking by and going on with their lives while I just sat still. So maybe it’s not about delayed gratification for me but it’s that feeling of “being different” . . . “not fitting in” . . .

So from one alien to another . . .



I find work to be meaningful when I’m helping people, particularly when helping them to solve problems they have encountered. I do crave some social contact, but I’ve only ever had just a few friends at a time, because I’m not compelled to socialize.

In my personal life, I focus on my family first, and then on myself. Like you, @Space_Ivan, I am motivated by intellectual pursuits, insatiable in my desire to know more about myself and the world around me, and learning about people (in the general psychological sense, not “getting to know” a lot of people).

If I was a hermit, a single man without any family, I’d probably spend all my days reading, thinking, and philosophizing. But, I’m a family man, and I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a family man, and that is where I find the most joy in this world.
…and now, duty calls. My 6-year-old wants breakfast now…


Beautiful picture of family life . . . you are a very lucky man !


Well, maybe i’m surrounded by people who aren’t like-minded with me here.
It’s hard to want to help people who are too different from you. Well, i try to help when i’m asked for help most of the time, but i don’t really seek to give help anymore, at least IRL. There was a period in my life when i tried, and it didn’t end well, i got kind of burned out, was called names, and had to harden up eventually.

We’re like a couple of hermits here. I am mostly okay with it, and my wife is… kinda okay? It’s hard to tell, she’s not into learning as i am, but she doesn’t like public too. She likes comfort more than me though, so the house doesn’t fully turn into cave, but still not enough to take great effort.
Not planning on having kids really. It seems as we’re both not really wanted in this world, and it’s hard to find a place and reason for yourself, not to mention someone who depends on you and 20 years of your commitment.
We probably will figure out some way to handle living, but i’m not into inflicting it on someone else.


Well you are both really wanted in this :brain::brain::brain::brain: part of the world . . .


Thank you for kind words! :slight_smile:


From 1 :brain: 2 another . . . Your welcome!


I heartily agree with @Brooklyn!

Yeah @Space_Ivan, you’re definitely you, and you’re definitely not me. I’m definitely me and not you. You’ve got you own way of things. (I envy the fact that you can manage to make money by investing. I would take months just picking a stock.)

Not everyone gets motivated BY helping people like I do. I like technology, but I’ve found that other techies that I know are driven to learn the latest programming language or use the latest tech, but not me. Others like knowledge, or status, or influence, or are motivated by accumulating things or money.

I’m naturally introverted/ambiverted (being around a lot of people drains me, particularly social events like parties or conferences), preferring to interact with only one or a few people at a time. However, if I have a people-serving purpose (like serving punch at a party, or manning an information booth at a conference), then I can actually get filled up emotionally instead of drained.

Back on your topic of “delayed gratification”, my wife and I are opposites. She is decisive, and when she makes up her mind that she wants something, then she wants it right away. I take forever “figuring out” what I really want, researching and weighing every option, and usually willing to wait for what I want (as long as I’m assured of getting it).


Thank you for your opinion JD!
I wouldn’t say i “made money”. Concept needs time test. 2020 was a year when it was rather easy because panic and low base effect, and it’s a necessity to keep your head cool and grounded. I lost myself to euphoria in february, and it cost me ~11ARMS(average russian monthly salaries. Heh, nice acronym. I like acronyms) more. I’m still profitable, but it could be much, much more. Hopefully i learned from that.
It helps not to view money as your goal. You start to treat them just like a number, and that makes head clearer and more calm. I’m having to remind myself it equals to some amount of food, energy, labor sometimes.

Back to why i described all that as “problem”. I’m troubled about working becoming harder for me to motivate myself to. I can’t say i’m sure trading will cover all our needs, because 50 years of couple’s needs is still a large number even if the needs themselves are rather small. I’m more or less good at making our own stuff and making it interesting and motivating process to myself, but there are things i’m not really going to succeed at. Surgery, for example.

Also, i kind of worried about my disconnection from something very basic to our kind. It makes everyday talking difficult. Like:
“-How are you doing, neighbour?
-I learned space-grade heatshields could be made out of wood, and that you shouldn’t catch falling knives in the market. Oh, and my motorbike restoration project is nearing it’s finish. And you?
-Well, i got a difficult situation in my job at the desk, expenses take away more of our budget, and my kid having trouble at school.”
And it feels like i don’t really find what he talks about interesting, and he finds what i’m talking about weird. Thus, aliens.