50 Cent told this story once in an interview.
Before his music stardom, 50 had been caught dealing drugs. But with such a small amount that he had been caught with and not much criminal record, his lawyer was able to convince the judge that 50 was actually using drugs and not selling them. So he was sent to a rehab facility where, as part of his sentence, he was required to fully participate as if he were a recovering drug user.
The leverage the rehab workers had was, if you didn’t follow the rules, you could be sent to regular prison for your offenses. So people were on their best behavior.
In the group meetings, each person had their time to talk and share whatever they chose to, and everyone else had to listen. Thing was, if someone said something to or about you that you didn’t like, you were forbidden to respond — until Friday.
Friday was response day (at least for 50, as he told the story), so he had to learn to control his impulses in the moment. And that patience and emotional control, that mastery of delayed gratification, 50 explained, is one of the keys to his success.
We all have times where we want lash out, curse someone out or break something. Emotions are a part of life. The best, most accomplished people just find the most constructive ways to channel that emotion into productive efforts that further their causes. And they master delayed gratification: getting the bigger, longer-lasting reward later.
An angry basketball player can get into a fight, yell at a ref or get testy with his coach. Or he can channel his anger into sharper focus, better defense and grabbing some damn rebounds.
A pissed off musician can go to Instagram or to the studio. Musicians make money with what they do in the studio.
When you’re emotional, you can start destroying things — relationships, your apartment walls, your future with the wrong words — or you can start building things. You just may have to wait your turn to use that energy.