For day 4 I picked Joachin de Posada’s Ted Talk Don’t eat the marshmallow!. This talk discusses a landmark experiment that involved a group of kids and marshmallows. The kids were giving a very simple task, don’t eat the marshmallow that was sitting right in front of them. If they were able to not eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes they would be rewarded with two marshmallows instead of one. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, especially if you are a 4 year old with a sweet tooth! If you need to get the context right try substituting a marshmallow with a good cup of coffee and a 4 year old with an adult, preferably one with a caffeine addiction.
So how many kids do you think ate the marshmallow? Not surprisingly 2 out of 3 kids ate the marshmallow. To be honest I used to work in a lolly shop so I was expecting all the kids to succumb to the temptation. The footage of the marshmallow study is in the video below, so make sure you click play if you haven’t already done so. The 4 year olds who refused temptation to eat the marshmallow and give in to temptation were on to something. As Posada puts it they already knew the secret to success which he says is the ability to delay gratification.
Reflecting on my own life I have come to a conclusion that I suck at self-discipline . I am the type of girl who
- Reads the last few pages of a good novel to find out how it ends.
- Googles episode guides of my favourite show to see what’s going to happen next.
- Eats desert before dinner just because I can.
- Opens that Christmas present before Christmas day after promising I wouldn’t. (I am getting better at this one)
- Buy a trilogy of movies only to watch them all on the one night.
- Check all my social media notification and email before even leaving my bad.
- I hate to admit this one but if there is an open box of tim tams lying around……
So maybe you can identify with some of my instant gratification traits and you might be wondering what’s the big deal. How’s polishing off a whole pack of tim-tams in under an hour going to affect my levels of success? Going back to the original marshmallow study, about 16 years after the experiment took place the researchers visited all the now twenty-something year old participants and found that 100% of them were now leading successful lives. If self discipline is a correlation to success I need to make changes fast and I need to stop eating tim-tams.
My action plan from this Ted talk relates directly to this blog Website Confetti. I have such big plans for this blog. Big plans. I am holding back though as I know if I eat all the marshmallows now there will be nothing left. So I am taking the advice of this video and the 1 in 4 kids who knew the secret to success early on. I am challenging myself to take small steps each day and not a big giant leap and fall on my backside when I loose balance. Wish me luck!