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Delayed Pain

Published 3/5/2018

You've probably heard of delayed gratification? In today's episode we're talking about what we're willing to pay for gratifications now vs in the future and how to use the tendency to want immediate gratification to our advantage.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode.

In 2018, Linode is joining forces with Developer Tea listeners by offering you $20 of credit - that's 4 months of FREE service on the 1GB tier - for free! Head over to https://spec.fm/linode and use the code DEVELOPERTEA2018 at checkout.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
You've probably heard of delayed gratification. The concept is very simple. That it's difficult to wait for something that you would enjoy. If you had the option to have it now, versus having it later, you're generally going to want it now. And that part's not very surprising. But perhaps the more surprising part is how much you're willing to give up to have it now rather than later. This simple concept has been proven over and over in basic experiments. You can do this with most people. You can ask them, do you want this now or do you want it later? And how much are you willing to pay for the premium? And there are entire business models based on this concept, for example, rush shipping. Most of the time that rush shipping is not for a functional need or for an actual time restriction. A lot of times people just want the thing that they just bought on Amazon or whatever they bought it on. They went it earlier. In today's episode, we're actually going to talk about how to use this tendency to want immediate gratification to our advantage. My name is Jonathan Cutrellng, you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal in this show is to help driven developers connect to their career purpose and ultimately to do better work so they can have a positive impact on the people they have influence over. And you are one of those people. Hopefully if you're listening to this show, you fit that description. You already consider yourself a driven developer and I'm glad to have you listening to this show. I hope you'll listen to more than just this episode as well. Before we jump in, I do want to request something from you if you are enjoying Developer Tea. If this is something that you find valuable, the most important thing that keeps the show going and helps other developers find the show is for you to subscribe and review the show in iTunes. Give the show a rating, subscribe and review in iTunes. This is so incredibly helpful. Pretty much every podcast platform pulls from the iTunes information. So other developers are going to be able to find Developer Teasier if there's more reviews and information about the quality of the show on iTunes. So if you want to help the show, I'll go and do that. So how can we use this negative tendency that most humans have, the tendency to require gratification as early as possible and to even make some trade-offs, you know, perhaps the most famous example of this. We've talked about this on the show before, but the marshmallow experiment with children believe around age five, you provide them with either one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later and they're willing to sacrifice the two marshmallows later so that they can have the one marshmallow now. So it really is half of the perceived benefit, but that immediacy was more important to them. And I want you to kind of engage with this concept and evaluate yourself for this behavior before you continue in the episode because it's really important before we go to the sponsor break. It's really important that you take some time to connect with this concept so that you can identify the behavior in yourself. So right down, maybe one or two ways that you require that instant gratification. Today our sponsor is Linode. Linode has sponsored so many episodes of Developer Tea and the reason that they sponsor these episodes is because they care about developers. Linode is a company of developers and they produce resources for you. It's not just a Linux server in the cloud. This is something that's so commonly lost. When you go and you search for a cloud provider, so many cloud service providers are the same thing. It's that you get access to a box and an IP and then you're pretty much done. There's not really a lot more that that company is providing you. Linode is so much more than that. For example, Linode has 24-7 customer support. They have professional services. So let's say for example that you don't have a strong DevOps person on your team. Well, Linode can help set you up and take care of your DevOps for you with their professional services. They have things for pretty much every development situation you can imagine. Some of them, the brand new beginner developer, hobby developer, $5 a month plan that gets to a gigabyte of RAM all the way up to their high memory plans. But most application companies are going to find themselves somewhere in the middle, probably launching a couple of eight gigabyte Linode servers. You can do that. You can launch eight gigabyte servers. You can launch much larger servers and you're only going to get charged for the services you use because everything on Linode is build at an hourly level. Go and check out what Linode has to offer. We only scratch the service here on Developer Tea. We're going to talk more about the services that Linode offers in the future. Head over to spec.fm slash Linode. Linode is going to give you $20 worth of credit to use on any of their services. Head over to spec.fm slash Linode. Use the code Developer Tea2018 at checkout and you'll get $20 worth of credit on Linode. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. We're talking about delay gratification and we're actually what we're talking about as a little bit kind of the opposite of delay gratification for today's episode. We're using delay gratification, the concept, the system there. We're trying to flip it on its head and use it to our advantage. The idea is that humans don't really do well with delaying things that they want. Delaying things that are pleasurable or delaying things that are otherwise beneficial to them. They have a hard time, as humans, we have a hard time dealing with that. When we have the option, we would rather not delay it. How can we use this kind of psychological setup? Well if we are driven for immediate gratification, we are also driven for delayed pain. In other words, we want to procrastinate on things that are painful or otherwise not gratifying. Things that we don't necessarily enjoy. Immediate pain would be the opposite of delay gratification. That is exactly what causes us to want to procrastinate because we want to put off the thing that isn't gratifying. We've talked about this before on the show. We've talked about behavioral economics, Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize in economics. He devised an experiment to try to get people to save more of their money for retirement. The way the experiment was run was he asked people to save the amount that they need a flat rate for the remainder of their careers in order to support them in their retirement years. As a general rule, this number was about 8%. About 8% of your income should be saved in order to retire. Have enough for retirement. What Richard Thaler recognized was that the immediate pain that that new cost, that new investment, even though it's money that I'm giving to myself, that immediate pain of taking that money out of the check, that was causing people to not opt in to retirement accounts at all. So, instead of getting 8%, or even getting less than 8%, which would be better than nothing, people were not opting in at all. So Richard Thaler decided to change the experiment to take advantage of this idea of avoiding immediate pain. It's a very simple shift and it doesn't change the outcome in the long run. In the long run, you still save the same amount of money, but instead of starting out at 8%, you're going to start out at a much lower percentage, perhaps something as low as 4% or 6%, and every year that percentage will increase. The interesting thing, the psychological factors at play here, with that as people grew in their careers, so did their income, their earning ability. They received raises over the years. So even though their contributions to their retirement accounts were increasing, so was their overall income. So the check that they took home continued to grow as well. Now this is an incredibly important factor in this discussion because over time, the same amount of money is going to be saved. And in fact, at a certain point in time, a much larger share of the money will be taken out. But because that time is later, because that pain is shoved outward on the timeline, is pushed further away from me. I'm much less likely to avoid that. I'm much more likely to comply and to sign up for this kind of gradual increase. And this is the way that most 401Ks are structured to gradually increase over time. So how can we use this to our advantage? Well, if you are trying to develop a habit, let's say that you're trying to learn a new language or maybe you're trying to start going to the gym, whatever your habit, your good habit, effort is, there are probably sub parts to the habit. So for example, I would like to go to the gym. Let's say I want to go there three days a week. Well, there's certain things, certain exercises that I'm going to do at the gym. And some of those exercises I like more than others. It's very simple, right? There's certain parts of our job that we like more than others. There's certain activities that we do within our job that we like more than others. So even though going to the gym overall is a difficult experience, there's certain parts of going to the gym that I really enjoy that are not as difficult as others that are not as grueling as others. So what we can do is kind of an experiment and this is going to be different for everyone. The effectiveness is going to be different for everyone. But we know and we talked about this on the show before that taking the first step is the most important one. The barrier to entry is kind of the key to actually building that habit. So for example, getting out of bed when your alarm goes off and never allowing yourself to hit the snooze button, this is perhaps the most important part of the waking up early habit is that you actually take that first step. You actually get out of bed and going back to bed is much more unlikely once you've taken the first step of getting up. So when we're trying to build these habits, we know that first step is the hardest, but what if we structured those activities so that the pain is delayed so that we can take advantage of that immediate gratification? For my waking up early morning routine habit, the most enjoyable thing that I have in the morning, making myself a cup of coffee or making myself a cup of tea, that is something that I really enjoy when I wake up in the morning. And so I do that at the very earliest part of those early mornings. When I'm actually in that cycle of waking up at a very early time in the morning, I put something that I enjoy right at the very front of that. So I actually have this kind of easy step into that habit. So we can take advantage of these natural ways that we avoid pain and that we seek pleasure, that we seek gratification. We can take advantage of those and kind of find a back door way into developing those routines. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope this has got your wheels turning. I hope that you kind of invest some time into finding out what works for you, finding out, what is your willpower when it comes to delay gratification, when it comes to that immediate pain and how much of that you can handle so that you can ultimately start building better routines, better habits in your life. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. Linode provides world class Linux servers in the cloud. You can get started and get $20 worth of credit by heading over to spec.fm slash linode and use the code Developer Tea2018 to check out. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening. Don't forget to subscribe and review the show in iTunes. Once again, iTunes is kind of the driver, the central driver for all of these other podcast platforms. The Google Play store is also another driver, but generally speaking, iTunes is kind of that central hub. If you have access to iTunes and you want to help the show out, you can give us a review and that's a huge help. Each review is so important. So thank you so much for doing that. Thank you again for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Until next time, enjoy your tea.