Saturday, 28 January 2017

Delayed Gratification Leads to Success

Last year I blogged about delayed gratification and the Marshmallow Experiment conducted by a Stanford professor (  The professor selected a group of children who each were given a marshmallow.  He told them that he had to complete a small errand and would return shortly.  If they delayed eating the marshmallow until he returned, they would received a second marshmallow.  However, if they ate the marshmallow right away, they would not.  Follow up studies that he conducted showed that those who waited until he returned and received a second marshmallow completed college at higher rates and earned higher incomes.

I did nor realize that the Stanford professor conducted a second study.  This time, he offered the children a marshmallow with the promise of a second one upon his return.  However, he had control groups as well.  Group 1 was to imagine that the marshmallow was like a cloud:  round, white and puffy.  Group 2 was to imagine how sweet and chewy and soft the marshmallows were.  Group 3 was to focus on another tasty treat:  crunchy, salty pretzels.  Picturing the pretzels produced the longest delay in gratification.  The professor concluded that the most effective way to delay gratification is to focus on another pleasure (unavailable at the time).

Regardless of how you delay gratification, the point is that high-delay children lead to happier, more successful adults.  In this instant gratification society, it is difficult to resist the urge to go for the quick fix.  Learn how to control your impulses.  Remember:  "Good things come to those who wait".

Note:  Read The Undefeated Mind by Dr. Lickerman.

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