In 1970 Walter Mischel created the Marshmallow experiment with a group of 4 year olds. Basically if the kids sat for 15 minutes without eating their marshmallow that was placed in front of them, they would receive two marshmallows as a reward for waiting.
The secret cameras revealed several kids ate their marshmallows instantly, some covered their eyes, and some sat on their hands squirming and kicking. They would do anything possible to distract themselves from the soft little sweetness sitting in front of them. One child went as far as to lick the marshmallow and put it back down.
Some kids were able to exercise self control and others were not.
But what I find so fascinating about this experiment is what they found out years later.
The kids who exercised self control did better on SAT’s, went to better colleges and created more success in their lives.
The kids that ate their marshmallows right away were more likely to become bullies, had problems in school, more likely to do drugs and fall into debt later in life.
What this shows is how important self-control and delaying gratification is in life.
It comes easy for some and not so easy for others, but the wonderful thing is… we all have the ability to learn it.
A wonderful book called “Don’t eat the Marshmallow…Yet by Joachim de Posada, is a story based on this experiment.
After reading the book, and practicing it at home my husband and my son were the Marshmallow eaters, and my daughter and myself were willing to wait.
Ironically your personality with money plays a role in delaying gratification. Spenders spend and think later, Savers think and then spend. If you can delay spending then you can delay gratification. Thus not eating your marshmallows.
We have marshmallows placed in front of us daily, but the key is to ask yourself is this worth it now, or is there something I want more… if so… don’t eat the marshmallow just yet.