Delayed Gratification: How To Harness It To Catapult Your Success

delayed gratification

Are you familiar with the marshmallow experiment?

This is the one where researchers bring children into a private room, one by one, sit them down, and put a marshmallow on the table in front of them.

The researcher then offers a deal to the child. He tells the child that he is leaving the room, and if the child doesn't touch the marshmallow while he's gone, then the child will get a second marshmallow.

However, if the child eats the first marshmallow while the researcher is gone, he or she will not get another marshmallow.

Essentially, the child has the choice of having one treat immediately or two treats in the future.

The interesting part of this popular study came years later when researchers did some follow-up experiments on their subjects.

The researchers tracked each child's progress in a number of areas as they grew up.

They found that the children who were able to delay their gratification by waiting to receive their second marshmallow ended up with lower levels of substance abuse, higher SAT scores, better physical health, better social skills, and better stress management skills.

This experiment that spanned forty years proved that one's ability to delay gratification was a critical trait for success.

The creator of the study, psychologist Walter Mischel, said that the ability to delay gratification provided "a protective buffer against the development of all kinds of vulnerabilities later in life."

What does delayed gratification have to do with success?

Willpower and self-control are essential strengths helping you reach your goals.

Whether it means saving money now to spend later, choosing healthy foods today to work to your ideal weight, or dealing with a less-than-satisfying job that helps you reach your career goals, delaying gratification affords tremendous returns while helping you strengthen your willpower muscle.

In order to be successful in the long run, you often have to give up some things that are tempting to you in the moment. But this can be difficult.

Most of us crave the immediate rewards of instant gratification. When that tantalizing piece of chocolate cake is in front of you, it's hard to override your sweet tooth even when you're fully committed to your diet.

Of course, the satisfaction you experience now can prevent you from enjoying a bigger reward in the future.

So what do you do when you are in those "chocolate cake" moments and every fiber of your being is screaming, "Eat the cake"?

You need some strategies to help strengthen your willpower in those tempting moments so you can stay true to your personal goals and commitments.

Here's how to harness delayed gratification to catapult your success and reach your goals:


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