Self-management challenge: would you eat one marshmallow straight away, or wait until you are given two as a reward for self-control?
The science behind the marshmallow test
Watch this eye-opening TED talk about a fascinating experiment that could open your eyes to how you react to self-gratification, or giving yourself rewards before you’ve earned them.
So what’s this marshmallow experiment?
A university did a psychology test with young children. Each child was put in an empty room with a marshmallow on a plate. They were told that if they could wait and not eat it, they would be given TWO marshmallows. The video is super-cute, seeing all these tiny tykes trying so hard not to eat the marshmallow, even sitting on their hands to stop themselves!
So what happened?
Two-thirds of the children just couldn’t wait for fifteen whole minutes to get two marshmallows as a reward. They had to have that marshmallow in front of them straight away.
Here’s where it gets strange. The one-third of children who waited fifteen minutes to double their prize? They did better later in life than the other children. Their use of self-control to get what they REALLY wanted, not just feeding their inner gratification monkey. This helped them achieve more in life.
Why does waiting for two marshmallows = success in life?
If you want to get ready for college, or an apprenticeship, or university, or getting your dreams off the ground, there are some self-management skills you need. You have to be able to:
- Know your priorities
- Set goals
- Make plans
- Follow through on them.
- You have to be able to delay gratification to get things done.
This is how you get two marshmallows in life. This is how you achieve your most important and rewarding goals.
Self-management challenge: What’s YOUR marshmallow?
Watch the video above then ask yourself a few questions:
Would you eat the marshmallow? Or wait?
What’s your marshmallow. What do you use as instant gratification, an empty treat that isn’t what you really want in life? Is it Facebook? Random youtube videos? Being on your phone all the time and texting before you’ve done your work? Or something more serious and damaging, even?
What your TWO marshmallows goal?
What do you really, really want?
What are you willing to put effort into getting, even if it takes a bit longer, or it’s less easy than scrolling through your phone?
You can get it. If you don’t eat the marshmallow… yet.
Try this at home:
Got any younger brothers or sisters? Give them the marshmallow test and see how they do!
Get your friends to watch this video. Then, when you’re getting off track and planning to do homework later not now, or put off a project, you can remind yourselves: “don’t eat the marshmallow”.