Are you the type that wants it NOW? Can’t wait for Christmas morning, so you open up just “one” on Christmas Eve? Maybe you’re a live for the moment, or only live once type of person. Why delay gratification?
Most of us have heard about the study by Stanford Professor, Walter Mischel. He wrote a book about this, called “The Marshmallow Test”. You can read the full report, and the 50-years of data that Professor Mischel found, but as all my blogs do, I dig out a few good nuggets and put them to other uses!
Professor Mischel placed 7-year old children in a room where there was a table, a chair, and a single marshmallow on the table. As the professor leaves the room, he makes an offer to each student, ‘if you do not eat this one marshmallow until I return, I will give you another’. The children are left alone for 15 minutes and video-taped. The initial statistic was that only 7% of the children waited until the professor returned, showing they had patience, and were willing to give up immediate gratification for a larger benefit.
The research goes on for over 50-years. The professor followed this group through high school, and their careers. What he found out was startling. The children who could delay gratification when they were 7 had higher SAT test scores, better careers, made more money, and even a lower BMI (body mass index).
Even though it might be too late for me or my clients to say no to that marshmallow, I see a great learning opportunity. The principle is still sound and can be applied to our business & personal lives today, by showing the benefits of a little patience.
Think of yourself engaged in a heavy debate. You want to say something to the other person because it will make you feel better. It might not add any value to the discussion, but gosh if you could just say %$#$%^& … However, if you stop, and delay that gratification, you most likely will find something better to say where you are both happy and the problem is resolved. Steven Covey in his book; The Seven Habits, writes about the difference between reaction and response.
This is something very similar to Professor Mischel. The difference between reaction & response, is time. You may want react to a slap in the face, with another slap, but putting space between that immediate need to react, and coming up with an appropriate response is key.
Of course there are other numerous benefits of delaying gratification. Eating that piece of apple pie might feel great, but it is going to hurt in the long run. Getting to bed early, instead of bingeing one more Amazon Prime movie or TV show, will ensure that you are ready for that 8AM meeting. Not going away this weekend, and studying hard for a test or preparation for a sales proposal, will definitely benefit you.
You may not be seven, but if you don’t eat that marshmallow now, I guarantee there will be two later!
I find this a main obstacle with the entrepreneurs that I coach. Quite a few are drawn to the other ‘shiny objects’ and cannot maintain focus on their current situation. I simply ask them, do you want one or two marshmallows? It is always a choice.
Having trouble making good choices? Let us help you improve! At Pinnacle Sales our guiding principle is continuous improvement. If it is not a goal of yours, you won’t be a client of ours.