mellow, more mellow, marshmallow

We’ve heard the wise saying, “good things come to those who wait”. Based on the Marshmallow Experiment, self control and delayed gratification is an important character building tool for success. This Stanford experiment performed in the late 1970’s, a few researchers brought some children together where they presented to each children a marshmallow.

They would ask the child if they waited 15 minutes, they would get another marshmallow at the end. Similar research has been done since then and the results have been similar if not the same. Those children that waited, had self discipline and a sense of delayed self gratification. The ratio in all of these researches were that 2 out of 3 children would eat the marshmallow right away. One out of three children would wait for the second one. After a decade later, the different group of researchers would go back to the same group of children and perform the same test and see where they were at in life. The group of children who waited were successful in life and still practiced self disciplined and delayed gratification. Whereas the ones who did not wait were not as successful.

Those children that waited, had self discipline and a sense of self gratification.

In the Columbia test, Dr. Joaquin takes note that the kids who were at the age of 4 years already understood delayed gratification. They smelled it, played with up for close to 14 minutes and then ate parts of the candy thus still failed the experiment. From all the research done past and present, if one prolongs an action or a decision, there is a better reward or outcome. One might say that by holding out for long term gain is an investment. Therefore by choosing to have self control or control oneself’s actions is the opposite of impulsive action. Impulsive actions or reactions is very often subjective with clouded judgement and result in more likely negative outcomes. Controlling your emotions requires self awareness and self discipline, a benefit and could save yourself unnecessary pain or creating additional problems for yourself or those you care about.

Each decision we make can affect someone positively or negatively whether you see it today or for a long term outcome. Looking for long lasting results will take some sacrifice, waiting 15 minutes or a few years possibly, but if it’s well worth it, the reward will be great. For those who failed in the Marshmallow experiment, I honestly believe that even they can succeed in life once they realise what it takes. One needs to be convinced and believe, that delayed gratification is well worth it. It doesn’t mean failure won’t exist but believe that a greater reward exists. It comes down to taking control of yourself and self awareness, realising those decisions could yield a better outcome.