One of my Facebook friends commented about how he was "teaching his child about delayed gratification" and provided a link. I wasn't exactly sure what I expected the link to connect to (some silly photo is probably what I was hoping for), but I was pleased by what I found.
The post not only talks about how important delayed gratification can be for kids (and my guess for adults), but also provides strategy one can use to teach it as a skill.
The researchers then followed the few children who had exhibited that behavior [of putting up with delayed gratification] and found that they excelled across the board in many of life’s endeavors, proving that delayed gratification is a very important life skill.
The kids who did not naturally have the trait were provided with adult modeling and they were able to learn it. The key was that they learned a distracting behavior which helped them wait the allotted time. It’s a skill that can be learned, and, as a parent, I find that huge.
I'm with Marc - the fact that you can take an important skill that some naturally have and some don't, and yet follow a strategy that makes it available to everyone - well, I think that's pretty sweet.
Read the article to learn the strategy. And next time you have choice between the quick win, and the long term benefit - pull it out.