“The Marshmallow Experiment”
The experiment conducted decades ago began by bringing in children into a room, one by one, sitting them down in a chair with a single marshmallow in front of them.
Here, the researcher offered a deal. He said he was going to leave the room, and if the child didn’t eat the marshmallow while he was away, then a second marshmallow would be rewarded. However, if the child chose to eat the marshmallow while he was away, they wouldn’t get a second. What he didn’t say was how long he’d be gone. The choice was simple – one treat now, or two treats later.
Some of the children ate it right away. Some squirmed around for a bit, and gave in after a couple of minutes. And some of the children managed to wait until the researcher came back.
The research team followed the participants for 40 years afterwards. The children who ate the marshmallow immediately… struggled in life. They didn’t have careers they were proud of, and they didn’t live lives they were happy with. The children who held out went on to live as highly successful individuals.
The ability to delay gratification is a critical component in life. Whether we want to go to the CrossFit Games, be the best spouse we can be, or propel our career forward, we must have the willpower to stay the course with the longer term in mind. Even when we’re tired, hungry, beat up, and starving for a bite of that marshmallow… we’re tough enough to hang on.
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