Largely a NTS post.
Delayed gratification is an extremely interesting topic. Heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment? The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment was a social experiment conducted by (well, quite obviously,) Stanford regarding the concept of delayed gratification. Here’s a brief summary the experiment:
The power of delayed gratification is best know from a the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a study conducted by Professor Walter Mischel at Stanford University. In this experiment, Mischel studied a group of four to six-year-old children who were given a marshmallow and left in a room for fifteen minutes. They were given the choice of being able to eat the marshmallow now, or if they were to wait the fifteen minutes, they will be able to have two marshmallows. Ultimately, some children were able to wait the fifteen minutes, whilst others were not able to.
The study didn’t finish there however. Researchers continued to study the development of the children into adolescents. They found that those children that were able to delay gratification were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable persons, more self-motivated, and as high school students, scored signficantly better with grades. With the latest study conducted on these exact same participants in 2011, the research has shown that the characteristic has remained with the individuals for life.
And a vid:
Interesting topic and study, and pretty true eh?
But of course the experiment isn’t entirely comprehensive, and there are flaws in the experiment. A follow up experiment by Rochester University (that just happened last year!) tested the experiment, adding a little twist- having an unreliable tester, someone who didn’t keep his promise and didn’t double the marshmallow. (I hope the kids weren’t too scarred. But yes that does bring into question the concept of unreliable delayed gratification.
Delayed gratification often results in expectation. I work hard now so that I would expect some sort of produce in the future. Logical and pretty straightforward. Everyone talks and agrees about that, right? The Bible even! You reap what you sow.
But what if, just what if, the expectation fails on us? A failed business venture; a close one lets us down; someone else receives the promotion instead of us. What good, then, does delayed gratification do? The kids in the Rochester University experiment were then 4x less likely to keep to the delayed gratification principle (they still got the 1 marshmallow).
I can’t say that we would react the same for sure, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume so. That pretty much means that with every disappointment (in delayed gratification), we become less and less and less and less and less likely to delay gratification. And eventually? ‘Heck, I’d eat the marshmallow now.’
Hecking and eating the marshmallow immediately isn’t WRONG. It could be pretty shallow, though. How if you need a proper lunch and Mr Tester is coming back with Prime 100% Ribeye Steak?
SO MANY IFs and SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY. How can I then do ANYTHING for sure?
I think the solution is simple, and it lies in a different mindset change from what most would expect.
Instead of YES- let’s eat the marshmallow now, just in case I get scammed, or LET’S WAIT- for good things come to those who wait, why not the mindset ‘IN SPITE OF THE RESULT, I’LL BE SATISFIED.’
Whatever the case, perhaps the key is to be satisfied with the decision we make RIGHT NOW- whether to eat it or have it now. The Stanford Experiment showed that children able to delay gratification (30%) turned out to be individuals with greater scores in high school, to be more successful etc etc etc. I take this a step further- I believe that the kid who STILL smiled and enjoyed his marshmallow after the tester from Rochester University scammed him would be EXCEPTIONAL.
I guess we just have to wait 30 years and see, eh?
Good things come to those who wait. Better things come to those who wait happily.
Kid @ 2:00 = Up there
nts/ How can you enjoy the future if you don’t enjoy the now? (Delayed gratification doesn’t make sense if you don’t live gratified now)
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ Romans 8:28