Would you eat the marshmallow?

I’ve been reading an interesting book called “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet,” which is about delayed gratification and how it can enable and predict success. The title is based on a study conducted at Stanford University in the 1960’s, in which small children were given a marshmallow and told that they could either eat it right then, or wait and be rewarded later with a second marshmallow. The study has since been repeated many times, and this video from a modern version shows the agony some of these children go through:


The interesting twist that researchers have found when they check in on these children later in life is that the ones who were able to resist the marshmallow tend to be more successful. For instance, one study has found their S.A.T. scores average 210 points higher than children who couldn’t wait.

The book makes the point that delayed gratification can benefit people in all walks of life—not just children. But it stands to reason that the sooner a person can learn this skill, the better. Do you agree? Is there an application for this in your practice?


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