To put off short-term pleasure in exchange for longer-term success does not mean you're delaying happiness now for a later date. You can have both. In fact, you should have both.
If you're in a position where you're living below your means or sacrificing today so that you can have something greater tomorrow, don't make the fatal mistake of delaying your happiness too. Don't let that something be your happiness. That doesn't come in the future.
You want to delay short-term gratification for a big purchase in the future? Great, by all means, plan, save, and attack that goal.
You want to start a company for the potential financial upside? Great, work your butt off for many years so that you have a chance at making it big.
But while you sacrifice your time and money focused on a particular goal, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your well-being.
Don't confuse delayed gratification for delayed happiness. Achievement of an outside goal will happen in the future. Happiness will only ever happen now, if you let it.
It's entirely possible to enjoy the hard work, long hours, and the promise for something in the future. Why? Because the the inside is different than the outside.
Just like everything we talk about in this blog, what you really care about is your inner world. You might think you care about the outside world, but if everything was falling to pieces outside, yet you felt joy, love, and openness, you'd be okay. In fact, you'd be in a better position to deal with reality crumbling around you.
Most of us are no use in dealing with the difficult situations that unfold around us because we're too caught up in our own stuff. We're too lost in our own inner world, that we can't deal with the hard stuff. Heck, half the time we can't even enjoy the good stuff! Why? Because we're struggling inside.
The amount of work you put in, the amount of sacrifice you make in the outside world, really has no connection to your true inner well-being. You can absolutely learn to be okay inside while you delay gratification for the future.
You can practice non-resistance of reality. You can practice acceptance of the present moment. You can practice perspective, realizing that while you make sacrifices working towards your goal, you're also spinning on the planet in the middle of nowhere. You're a minuscule dot on a spec of dirt in the vast, expansive universe. What's there to complain about? How is every moment not a miracle?
Your inner state has nothing to do with what's going on around you, where you live, or how much money you're spending. You can absolutely be in harmony with reality while you work your butt off for a future goal. Just make sure that goal isn't happiness. You've already got that here. You've only got that here.
Live with substance!