The Marshmallow Test

Have you ever heard about the Marshmallow experiment?
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Walter Mischel ran some experiments at Stanford University based on delayed gratification. In the Marshmallow experiment what they did was, they put a child in a room with a Marshmallow on the table. They said, if you want, you can have this marshmallow right now. But, if you wait a little bit, I’ll give you another one. Then, they left the child alone in the room. Some of them waited and got a second marshmallow, and others just took the instant gratification road and ate the marshmallow on the table.
What’s interesting about this experiment is that years later they ran a follow-up study with these kids, and it turns out that those who waited to get the second marshmallow had a better education, higher STA scores, and so on. Which means that those kids were able to avoid instant gratifications in life and focused on long-term results. These kids were more likely to succeed.
In other words, these kids figured out how to do the hard work first (waiting to get the second marshmallow while they had one on the table yelling eat me!), and get the benefits of a delayed gratification (having a second marshmallow).
Deep down, we all want to have our marshmallows right now. Especially in today’s world where we’re used to have instant gratification. However, the challenge here is to make the effort at the beginning and overcome that Dip and do the hard part. Then, and only then, you’ll get the benefits of long-term planning.
Alas, it’s too tempting to take the easy path and postpone the hard work. The problem with that is… the hard part will become harder, and by then you won’t have a marshmallow on your table.
Sometimes from the outside people will think that quitting your job is stupid, or firing a client when you desperately need that money is foolhardy, or whatever hard challenge you’re facing right now. But, remember, overcoming the temptation of having that marshmallow is key to move things forward and think long-term.
Is it hard? You betcha. But that’s the way.
So, do you wanna have your marshmallow now? Or you rather wait to get another one?