In the 1960’s, Psychologists at Stanford studied a group of preschool students’ ability to delay gratification in what have come to be called “the marshmallow studies.”
“They learned that that one’s ability to delay gratification “is quite a significant predictor of a variety of important long-term outcomes.” One such outcome is doing well at school. Another is resiliency in later life against vulnerabilities such as being sensitive to rejection.” –Simon Firth, The Bing Times
Delayed gratification is a powerful quality. Some examples:
–finishing what you start
–following through when boredom or discouragement set in
–starting in the mail room at your target company
–finishing school because you dream of being a lawyer, doctor, architect, designer etc.
–curtailing lifestyle and spending habits in anticipation of a creating a family
–scaling back personal expenses to launch or build a business
–auditioning for student and independent films as you work toward becoming a successful actor.
–delaying sexual gratification to enhance the experience for you and your partner
The research studies attributed a student’s ability to delay gratification to their personality. It would be a mistake to conclude that you either have it or you don’t.
The ability to delay gratification can be cultivated. It requires awareness and self discipline. Activities that promote mindfulness (tai chi, yoga, meditation) help tremendously. It is never to late to begin again.
Delayed gratification combined with the pursuit of dream is a powerful propelling force.