Yesterday while reading Atomic Habits I came across two new concepts which are called immediate return and delayed return environments.

We are under immediate return when focused on the results which can be received instantly. Our ancestor who used to wander in the African Savannah use to exist on an immediate results environments. Since they didn’t know when was the next time they could secure a meal, take shelter or not get devoured by lions, it made sense for them to place value in instant gratification.

Current society lives on a delayed return environment, most of our actions tend to pay-off in the long term. We invest time learning something to eventually get our dream job. We put money in our pension fund so that we can retire one day.

In the context of habits, our bias towards instant gratification can cause problems when trying to create new habits. Who doesn’t prefer those extra 30 minutes of sleep at 5:30 a.m instead of hitting the gym.