One or Two Marshmallows?
It is pretty safe to say that we tend to depend heavily on instant gratification. “Running late to pick up the kids because I'm stuck in rush-hour traffic? AWESOME!”, “The present that I ordered from Amazon is on backorder and the party is tomorrow? Outstanding!" ...said no one, ever! Knowing that you can get what ever it is that you want or need almost instantaneously is a very alluring concept. Relying on this, though, can unfortunately lead us to make poor decisions and form bad habits.
You’ve heard of the Stanford marshmallow experiment, right? Well if you haven’t, I'll quickly brief you. In this experiment, children were offered a marshmallow, in which they would receive immediately; however, they were also presented with the option to wait fifteen minutes and be rewarded with two marshmallows. Few were victorious and made it through the torture chamber of snack time to be rewarded with two marshmallows while most of the children folded and went for the instant reward of one marshmallow.
This small experiment can be applicable in our everyday lives—and no, don’t go to your local grocery store and grab a bag of marshmallows, that is not where I am going with this, but nice try! What I am saying is that if you can forego the satisfaction of instant gratification, you may find that you will get a whole lot more out of your experiences. For example, when you are laying in bed in the morning, debating with yourself whether you should just snooze that alarm (go for the instant marshmallow) or get up and start your day off right by knocking out that workout and crushing your morning ritual (two marshmallows), it might not be a bad idea to challenge yourself and invest in the latter. After all, you have goals to achieve. Don’t let the momentary sensation and mouth-feel of that cake, that you know you probably shouldn't have, delay you from the becoming the person that you are working so hard to be. The great news is if it doesn’t go the way that you would have liked it to, you get to start over tomorrow.
Delaying instant gratification can be very challenging, but I guarantee that the reward for doing so will always be greater than that momentary fufillmentSo, the next time your friend looks at you crazy for passing on desert just say, “You can have your one marshmallow, I’m going for two!"