The journey toward voice over success and a fulfilling voice talent career requires many skills, talents and qualities. And one of those qualities is becoming more elusive than ever in this digital age of instant everything. It’s the quality of delayed gratification and it is truly a life-changing skill if mastered and utilized in your everyday existence. So, let’s dive into this topic and if you make it all the way to the end of this post, you’ll get a special reward.
Delayed Gratification Explained
Delayed gratification is the capacity to wait for a reward that promises to be bigger and better than the instant gratification you’d get from a lesser yet immediate pleasure. The concept of delayed gratification was explored years ago in The Marshmallow Experiment, as James Clear brings up in his discussion on the topic.
The Marshmallow Experiment involved bringing a child into room where a marshmallow beckoned from the table. The researcher told the child he was going to be left alone with the marshmallow for a set period, during which time the children were given a challenge.
If the children could refrain from eating the marshmallow until the researcher returned, they would get a second marshmallow to enjoy. Kids had to pick between:
- Immediate pleasure from a single marshmallow
- Delayed gratification with double the rewards
Results were mixed, and the children’s lives were subsequently tracked over a 40-year period. The kids that were able to choose delayed gratification ended up more successful in many things across the board, from SAT scores to social skills and reactions to stress.
Where Delayed Gratification Fits in with Your Voice Over Success
Delayed gratification plays a huge role in your voice over success, as long-lasting positive results do not come instantly. The promise of the big reward of a full-time voice actor career is down the line, but only for those who have the capacity to wait it out while paying their dues.
Those dues can be pretty hefty. Starting any business as a solopreneur involves a lot of moving pieces that need to be put together to complete the puzzle. These include setting up a website, creating your branding and marketing plan, strengthening your talent and skills with training, putting together a voice over talent demo, finding agents to represent you, constantly seeking out audition opportunities, and otherwise doing all those things to get a new business up and running.
Sometimes it may feel like the only reward at the end of the day may be the ability to finally move away from the computer and get some sleep. But the bigger reward of living a dream job is only possible for those willing to wait for the delayed gratification.
Things Fighting You Along the Way
For the younger generations now in or nearing the workforce who grew up in the digital world, delayed gratification may seem like a totally foreign concept. That concept gets even harder to grasp, for people of any age, with the amount of distractions in society today.
Even when you’re at work at your computer, emails urge you to check out the latest sales at your favorite shops, the instructional YouTube video you’re viewing ends with links to dozens of other intriguing videos, one article you’re reading links to a handful of others, and social media alerts exclaim that three more people commented on your latest post.
Add personal responsibilities that may include daily chores to complete, errands to run, children and pets to tend to, and that thing called eating dinner, and sticking on the patient road toward delayed gratification can feel like an impossible feat.
With so many things calling for your attention, and so many tasks that need to be tackled when you’re first launching a business, the whole process can feel overwhelming. Overwhelming can turn to daunting and even frustrating when there’s not a lot of early success at the beginning of a career.
The choice between delayed gratification down the road and the instant gratification of throwing up your hands in despair as you go to watch TV can be a tough one indeed.
Why Stick it Out
Don’t give up. Even if you’re used to instant results, instant gratification and pretty much instant everything, challenge yourself to stay the course for the delayed gratification that hard work, passion and dedication always brings.
Even if your own delayed gratification doesn’t bring the voice over success as you envisioned, putting all that positive energy out into the universe is going to bring on rewards. Perhaps all your hard work will lead to new relationships, new ideas or a new path that results in a career even more exciting that the one you imagined.
Whatever the case, I’ve found the success that comes from the pain of sticking with it over the ease of distraction is worth the wait. You can even train yourself into a pattern of delayed gratification by setting up smaller, daily rewards – like the delayed gratification of finishing everything on your to-do list if you stay focused on your work throughout the day.
Remind yourself that you do have the capacity to wait, and the rewards will definitely be worth it. There’s no reason to sell yourself short with one marshmallow now when you can double your rewards down the road.
Now, on a little tangent (and I’m putting this at the end so that I don’t distract you from finishing my post), last weekend I got to finally see Hamilton in Chicago. And, as I was doing my final edit on this blog, the song “Wait For It” kept going around in my head! So, for a little entertainment and reward for making it all the way to the end of my post, please check out this awesome 360 degree video of the original Broadway cast. Be sure to grab the screen and rotate to see everyone around you.