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The Marshmallow Test: How waiting can lead to more?

Updated: Apr 25

Ever imagine yourself as a kid, staring down a single, delicious marshmallow? You can devour it right now or wait 15 minutes and score two marshmallows instead. This isn't just a childhood fantasy; it's the core of a famous psychology experiment called The Marshmallow Test, designed by Walter Mischel in the late 1960s.


The Marshmallow Test is about delayed gratification, and delayed gratification is important for investors.

The Marshmallow Test wasn't just about sugary treats, though. It was about something far more significant: delayed gratification. This is the superpower of resisting instant gratification for a bigger, more meaningful reward later.


The experiment presented young children with this exact dilemma: one marshmallow now or two in 15 minutes. The twist? The researcher would leave the room, leaving the child alone with the marshmallow and the promise of a sweeter reward.

Here's the fascinating part: children who waited for the double dose tended to have better life outcomes. We're talking higher grades, stronger social skills, and even better overall health!


But here's the good news: the ability to delay gratification isn't set in stone. Mischel's research showed this skill can be developed with practice.

So, how do we master it?


Ditch the motivation myth: Forget waiting around for inspiration to strike. Take action! Often, motivation follows action, not the other way around. Starting that daunting project can be tough, but once you make progress, a sense of accomplishment kicks in, fueling you forward.


Focus on the future: Instant gratification hits – the endless online shopping sprees, the social media black holes – rarely lead to lasting happiness. Remember that time you "accidentally" stayed up all night watching who-knows-what? Yeah, me neither (but trust me, it's not a recipe for success). Delayed gratification, on the other hand, is all about building a brighter tomorrow.


Celebrate every step: Reaching milestones, big or small, deserves recognition! Saved your first $100 towards retirement? High five! Crushed a week of workouts? Treat yourself! These mini-victories keep you motivated and engaged in the long run.

Investing is all about delayed gratification, patiently waiting to let compounding works its magic.

Now, let's talk about something near and dear to us: investing.


The financial world can feel like a casino sometimes, with headlines screaming about overnight successes. But here's the reality check: sustainable wealth rarely comes from "get-rich-quick" schemes.


Investing is all about delayed gratification – putting in the work today for a future payoff.

Chasing hot stocks might give you a temporary thrill, but it's a recipe for disaster. The market has its ups and downs, and focusing on short-term gains can lead you to make rash decisions – the opposite of what you want! Delayed gratification allows you to develop a long-term strategy, building a portfolio that weathers the storms and grows steadily over time.


Imagine a snowball rolling downhill. It starts small, but with each turn it gathers more snow, growing bigger and bigger. That's the magic of compounding!

By investing early and consistently, you harness this power, turning your first investment into a wealth-generating machine. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow exponentially.


Building a dream retirement or achieving financial freedom isn't a weekend project. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Delayed gratification helps you manage your expectations and avoid getting discouraged.


The Marshmallow Test may have been conducted with marshmallows, but the lessons it teaches apply to all of us. By strengthening our ability to delay gratification, we can unlock greater success and achieve the bigger, more fulfilling rewards that life has to offer.

After all, wouldn't you rather have two delicious marshmallows than just one?


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