The Marshmallow Test: Becoming Your Own MasterPosted on Jun 4, 2012 | 19 comments
So what is the secret to living the life of your dreams and escaping your drudged-out routine? Well, it might just be a bit of self-control.
Have you ever heard of the Marshmallow Test?
Back in 1972 an experiment was done at Stanford University that tested the self-control of young children. In the experiment, each child is given a marshmallow to enjoy at their leisure. However, if the child is able to sit in front of the marshmallow for 15 minutes without eating it, they will then be given a second marshmallow to enjoy. Torture I know, but the results are very interesting.
The children of the original experiment were followed for 18 years after the test was performed. What the scientists discovered was that the kids who were able to find ways to resist the temptation of the marshmallow were significantly more successful in life than those who instantly gave in and gobbled up the marshmallow. They were more stable, had better grades in school, were more popular, stayed out of trouble, etc . . .
Now I don't think the study in any way suggests that one's success in life can be predicted by a decision to eat a marshmallow at 4 years old, but there is something to be said about the relationship between self-control and our ability to be "successful" in life.
Check out this video. Besides being hilarious, it says a lot.
You Are Your Master
I believe that pretty much everyone out there wants to doing something big with their life - but it ain't easy. There is so much temptation. So much instant gratification. Look at the way we buy houses, cars, coffee. The way we abuse credit and food and liquor. I'm by no means a saint when it comes to this stuff. I am a NOW guy - give it to me! But I know that what I may want NOW won't get me what I really want LATER.
This whole idea of "escaping" that we have been going through really doesn't have much to do with travel. You don't have to travel to use less, or spend more time with your kids, or read a book. You don't have to get all adventurous to change. But you do have to show a little restraint! No point in using less if you can't stop taking on more.
Escaping is all about deferred gratification. I'm all for living in the moment, but not if that moment is going to lead me down a short path of regret and keep me from my dream.
I think the rules of escape are simple:
- Get rid of your crap.
- Pay back what you owe.
- Stop impulsively taking on burdens.
- Start doing the things you really care about every day.
- Learn to be truly open to what happens next.
That is it. This is Escape. And all of this begins with self-control.
Now, go grab that Marshmallow and see what you're made of. You know you want to.
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