Do you want one marshmallow or two?
That was the question posed to a group of four year olds by Walter Mischel of Stanford University.
The study has become known as the “marshmallow experiment” and it shows that through the power of delayed gratification you can achieve some amazing results.
The study on delayed gratification revealed how important self-discipline actually is.
The Delayed Gratification Study
In the 1960′s Walter and his team wanted to understand the power of delayed gratification. So they found a group of hungry four year olds who loved marshmallows. They were given a marshmallow and promised another one if they could wait about 20 minutes before they ate the first one.
The children who could wait would be demonstrating the ability to delay gratification and control their impulses.
About one-third of the children were able to use self-discipline and will power to delay their gratification.
Fast forward about 14 years and Walter and his Marshmallow catch up with the children and discover something pretty startling.
The Children Who Delayed Gratification Were:
- More positive
- Persisted in the face of difficulties
- And able to routinely use the power of delayed gratification in the pursuit of their goals
The above habits have been linked to success. They lead to to more thriving marriages, greater career satisfaction, higher incomes, and better health.
The Children Who Couldn’t Delay Gratification Were:
- More troubled
- Lacked self-confidence
- Still couldn’t delay gratification
These habits are the foundational practices if you don’t want to achieve success in your life. They lead to unsuccessful marriages, low job satisfaction, result in lower income, poor health and pretty much a general frustration with life.
3 Tips To Using The Delayed Gratification Technique
- Remember This Study:
When your faced with the choice between one marshmallow or two remember this delaying gratification experiment and use it as your jumping off point.
- Think About Your End Goal
Focus on the future instead of the immediate gratification. Feel what it’ll be like when you finally accomplish your goal.
- Avoid The Situation
I did this when I quit smoking. I steered clear of smokers, situations that reminded me of smoking, and anything that I usually associated with smoking(coffee).
So as the saying goes, “Short term pain for long term gain.” It’s time to use the power of delayed gratification in your life to accomplish your goals.
p.s. What are some ways that you would recommend to delay gratification?