"Deferred gratification or delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. This attribute is known by many names, including impulse control, will power, self control and, in economics, "low" time preference. Extensive research has shown that animals don't do this, but instead apply hyperbolic discounting, so this problem is fundamental to human nature.
Conventionally, good impulse control is considered a personality trait. Daniel Goleman has suggested it is an important component of emotional intelligence. People who lack this trait are said to need instant gratification and may suffer from poor impulse control. Psychological research (along the lines of Walter Mischel's famous Marshmallow Experiment) indicates that good impulse control may be important for academic achievement and life success. "
All that to say that impulse control, or delayed gratification, is essential in life, and is a sign of maturity. This is not something that comes naturally to me, at all (not a personality trait of mine). Being a free spirit by nature, it is a daily struggle to put off the things I'd like to have now, in order to achieve the goals we have set as a family. For instance we would like to be totally debt free, so that we will have the freedom to do whatever we like with the extra income. Primarily, we would love to be able to give extravagantly to people in need, to those who are doing ministry, etc. And maybe, just maybe, take some nice family trips now and then...oh, and get that pair of leather chairs I have been asking for for the last few years (aka, items of low time preference to Dave). Luckily, I am married to a man who has extra genes for delayed gratification. So, it matters not if I feel impulsive, because I have built in restraint. I am coming to see that as a positive, but it's hard!
So, for now I take comfort in this fact that I ran across last year (paraphrased): the person who can live with dirty carpet now, is more likely to become wealthy later - because it is an indicator of impulse control. And my carpet is filthy (FYI, not my fault, either...whoever lived here before me messed it up...just sayin)! In the meantime, I should probably forget Pottery Barn exists and turn off HGTV. Not likely, but it's a thought.
Oh, and here's a fun link, speaking of Pottery Barn...check it out...it's a hoot!