Grassroots Commentary

What Difference Do Marshmallows Make Anyway?

Rona Swanson · Jul. 2, 2014

“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” –Brian Tracy

Many years ago, they did a study with four and five year olds.

The choice was this: they were going to be left in a room alone and they could eat the marshmallow on the table OR if they waited until the teacher came back, they would get FOUR marshmallows.

A hidden camera recorded the agonizing decision placed before these children and their ability to resist the immediate temptation to receive the higher reward, or their inability to wait and their sugary rapture of munching down the lone marshmallow.

The study did not stop there, but followed this same group of children to adulthood.

The ones who could wait for the payout of four marshmallows tended to make wiser decisions as far as applying themselves in school, working hard and being disciplined in their career field, even choosing a spouse wisely.

The one marshmallow kids could not stick to a task, got in trouble with authority early in school, and often were dropouts. Their lives became one string of failure after another.

Turns out the ability to delay personal gratification is a life skill that matters.

So what does that mean?

It’s the difference between impulse buying and spending all your available cash now OR methodically saving for a desired purchase.

It’s the difference between enduring difficult and mundane tasks to reach a desired goal OR trying for a bit and quitting because it is" too hard".

It’s the difference between disappointing failure and triumphant success.

It is life or death for your dreams and aspirations.

You choose: one now or four later.

I do not know about you….but I am going to sit on my hands if I have to, but I want the four later!

Psalm 27:14, New International Version (NIV): “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

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