Is Delayed Gratification the Holy Grail of Success?

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   What is all of this talk about delayed gratification being the holy grail of success?  Yesterday, I was at the grocery store and saw this kid who wanted some sweets.  When the Mom said no that’s only for special occasions, the kid proceeded to throw himself on the ground kicking, screaming and crying.  Do you indulge the child because he is making a scene and you're embarrassed?  To Have it now or later that is the question.

In the late 60’s early 70’s a Standford Professor by the name of Walter Mischell conducted what is known as the marshmallow experiment.  This turned into a series of studies on delayed gratification.  The researcher brought some young kids into a room and gave them each a marshmallow.  They were told that the researcher was going to leave but when he got back if the marshmallow was still there that the kids could have a second one. So the researcher leaves and watches the kids from a camera. 


Sadly, most of the kids could not hold out fifteen minutes before taking it and stuffing the thing in their mouth. Only a few kids were able to hold out.  The kids who ate the marshmallow kind of got obsessed with it. They picked it up, squeezed it, batted it around and overall could not stop focusing on what was right in front of them.

One kid who held out actually laid his head on the table and stopped looking at it altogether.  Upon being asked why he did that he said “I just imagined it was in a frame that I couldn’t get to right now” To have it now or later that is the question?

What researchers have found is that people who exercise willpower and delayed gratification have shown far more success in life then their counterparts.  Better jobs, reported higher levels of happiness, longer lasting relationships, and etc.

This bears the true notion that if you can set aside present comfort for long-term success that you will get that second marshmallow.  I know what your thinking easier said than done.  A few things I have found that really make a difference.

1.)    Embrace and envision long-term payoffs

2.)    Know what your doing doesn’t have to be perfect (act-learn-adjust)

3.)    Risk is necessary—Calculated risk

4.)    Know you have value

5.)    Lots of small wins add up to a big win

6.)    Enjoy the journey –you don’t learn anything by winning the lotto

7.)    K.I.S.S. principle—Keep it simple stupid

8.)    Remember tomorrow is a new day


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