May 2023

Music and Money

In today's fast-paced and consumer-driven society, the allure of instant gratification is stronger than ever. People are often enticed by the promise of immediate satisfaction, leading them to make impulsive decisions and blinds us to the potential harmful long-term consequences.

One area where the lack of delayed gratification is particularly evident, is in personal finances, with many individuals losing their wealth, or not able to build a life of stability due to poor financial decisions.

I’m reflecting on this while I’m here on my vacation in the Philippines, and I’m seeing my parents reunite with old friends, who used to be millionaires here in our city. They grew up in families who had generational wealth.

Unfortunately, most of them lost it all due to impulsive decisions, wanting immediate pleasure from drugs, women, and instant money from gambling.

There are many contributing factors that lead to a life of peace and stability as an adult. But one of the values that was instilled in me deeply was the value of delayed gratification.

I look back and realize that I didn’t have a lot of struggles with instant pleasures that come as temptations, usually during a person’s teenage years, which is an important formative period in our life as we go into adulthood.

A Priceless Virtue

Delayed Gratification

“The ability to delay an impulse for an immediate reward to receive a more favorable reward at a later time.”

Studies have shown that delayed gratification is one of the most effective traits of highly successful people. People who learn how to manage their need to be satisfied in the moment thrive more in their careers, relationships, health, and finances than people who give into it.

-Psychology Today

Growing up, my parents didn’t have much. But one thing that my parents did for me was providing for me to participate in activities such as music and dance. Learning a skill such as playing an instrument is where the art of delayed gratification is masterfully orchestrated. Learning music demands patience, practice, and unwavering determination. Becoming a skilled musician is a testament to delayed gratification, as progress is made steadily, and rewards are earned through persistent effort. It is a priceless virtue that music can teach us.

Here are some of the awesome connections between delayed gratification and learning music, and how a musician’s journey can teach us the value of patience and discipline in all aspects of life.

1. Practice and Progress

Mastery requires regular practice, even when progress seems small. Musicians understand that improvement takes time and consistent effort. In finances, this same mindset applies. Consistent saving and responsible spending habits lay the groundwork for long-term financial security.

Music Goals and Financial Goals

2. Goal Setting

Musicians often set personal goals, such as learning a challenging piece or performing in front of an audience. These goals provide motivation and a sense of purpose. Similarly, setting financial goals, like saving for retirement or a dream vacation, requires discipline and delayed gratification. Sacrificing immediate indulgences for future rewards becomes more meaningful when there is a clear objective in sight.

3. Patience and Discipline

Playing music demands discipline and the ability to stay focused for extended periods. Musicians understand that shortcuts and instant success are rare. Likewise, financial success is built upon prudent decision-making, consistent saving, and avoiding impulsive purchases. Patience and discipline play a vital role in both the world of music and personal finance.

4. Perseverance

Musicians encounter lots of challenges like tackling complex melodies, overcoming stage fright, or mastering intricate rhythms. Overcoming these obstacles require resilience and unwavering determination. Likewise, setbacks and financial hardships are inevitable, but the ability to persevere and adopt can lead to greater success.

I’m forever thankful to my own piano teacher who never gave up on me and helped me learn, not just how to play the piano but how to consistently exercise delayed gratification. As I look back, especially in my college life where I was away from family, left alone to make decisions, and had so many opportunities to engage in things that probably would have led me down a very turbulent path, I’m thankful that the principles of discipline, patience and perseverance, instilled in me through learning music has helped me make life choices that led to a brighter future.

It is my hope and my desire as a piano teacher that my students not only know how to play the piano, but that through their weekly practice, they are learning how to apply the wisdom of delayed gratification - a priceless virtue that will help them build a solid foundation to lead successful lives.

love and joy,


“Don’t compromise what you want most
for what you want now”

- Zig Ziglar

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