Delayed Gratification and the Marshmallow Test

Image Photo Credit by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Dr Walter Mischel ran an experiment in the 1960’s that tested a child’s ability to delay satisfaction.  The test, ran in Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School, essentially a child seated alone in a room was given one marshmallow with the promise of a second marshmallow if they could hold off eating the first until the adult returned to the room (up to 20 minutes later).  The test group was followed for some 50 years and it was widely reported that the group of children who mastered their willpower and waited so that they could get the second marshmallow did better in testing and achievements.

Now there are a lot of variables that can be argued about in any scientific study, but the principle is clear – learning to master your self control and will power leads to better results in your future.  It’s not a shaming moment but instead a time to reflect before the New Year’s Resolution’s are made and credit card bills and savings accounts are ravaged for the holidays.  Consider these things:

  1.  Do people have difficulty buying you gifts because you normally just buy what you want?
  2. How much space would you have if you cleared your closet of all items you haven’t touched in six months (or a year if you live in seasonal climates)?
  3. Knowing the holidays demands on your disposable income, do you continue buying yourself things you don’t need along with presents and holiday “necessities”?
  4. Do you give any gifts that you know will be re-gifted or rarely used just to tick off a box on a list?

This holiday season, work on mastering your self control where your finances are concerned.  Set a goal for yourself to keep your financial landscape nice and healthy.  maybe buy nothing personal until January, re-use or recycle items for decoration, plan a budget that you can afford for gift giving and when it runs out make gifts, or give the gift of your time and friendship where you spend time doing things like hanging out having experiences with each other.

The holidays give us a tremendous opportunity to work on our finances as well as our self control – Remember, if we can just wait, better things may be in store for us!

Chat Later!



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