Let Me Paint You A Story
A little girl was asked to wait inside a room with nothing but a chair and a big white marshmallow on a table. The teacher told her that she can either eat the marshmallow right away or wait until the teacher gets back so she can have another marshmallow. The teacher then left the room.
Eat the marshmallow right away, or wait until the teacher comes back for two marshmallows.
The little girl sat down. She looked at the marshmallow in front of her. She smelled it. She touched it. She wanted to taste it, but she waited.
Tick tock. Tick tock. 5 minutes has passed. No teacher yet. She stared laser-focused at the juicy marshmallow. She wanted to eat it so bad. But she waited.
Tick tock. Tick tock. 8 minutes has passed. The teacher still isn’t back. She took the marshmallow. She opened her mouth to take a bite. But then she didn’t. She put down the marshmallow. She decided to wait a little more.
Tick tock. Tick tock. 12 minutes has passed. No sign of the teacher yet. Finally, she took it again, made frequent small bites of it, until the marshmallow was no more.
This is an actual study that is now famously called the “Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.” In this study, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately, or two small rewards if they waited for a short period of time. In the follow-up studies, the researchers found that the children who were able to wait longer for the rewards tended to have better life outcomes, better scores, better educational attainment, and was more successful overall. This concept is also commonly called as “DelayedGratification“, the delaying of present gratification for the hope of greater future rewards.
This now begs to us the question: “Why should we care?“
First, several studies have concluded that the ability to delay gratification is critical for success in life. Don’t believe me? Google it and find it out yourself. If you want success in life, then the experts said: Learn to delay gratification.
Second, the ability to delay gratification is like a muscle. You can choose to flex it or not. It’s never too late to work out. It’s never too late to practice delaying gratification.
Third, you can learn to delay gratification in a number of ways. You can train your willpower by using several methods: physical exercise, doing breathing-meditation, taking enough sleep, having a healthy diet, or you can trick your mind by using strategies, like the DistractionStrategy.
I have only skimmed the surface of this very interesting topic, but if I have caught your interest, then I have succeeded in my attempt to do so.
Let Me Tell You Something True
We all have this monster inside of us. I know I have this monster inside of me. Whenever I’m late and I’m caught in heavy traffic, this monster inside of me screams. Whenever my alarm goes off early in the dawn and I’m still sleepy, this monster argues to me that I need to sleep a little more. Whenever someone praises me or when I achieve something, this monster flatters me and gives me gifts called “Pride”. Whenever I’m hungry and my patience is being tested near to depletion, this monsters claws at me from my stomach to my head.
But then I decided. I want to tame this monster. Until I learned how to. And it’s an everyday battle.
We can live the good life now. We can gratify ourselves instantly and almost everyday. Or we can face suffering, learn to wait, and hope for greater future rewards.
We can have a good life now, or we can have our best life later.
This choice is mine to take.
This choice is ours to make.