I read recently read about a study done a number of years ago by a Stanford professor regarding “delayed gratification”. This research study “struck a cord” with me for some reason and I thought I would share it with you.It is called the “Marshmallow Challenge”. It goes like this.
The researchers took a number of four year olds and they put them individually in a room with someone that was doing the administering the test. They had a marshmallow sitting on a table and told them that they had to leave and would be back. They told them that if they wanted the marshmallow they could have it now but if they waited until he returned they could have two marshmallows.
It turned out that about one third of the children took the marshmallow as soon as they left the room. The other two thirds did anything and everything they could to distract themselves and hang on till he returned 15 to 20 minutes later.
The most interesting part of the research is they followed up with these same kids when they were young adults. The difference they found between these two groups was dramatic. Those kids that were able to delay gratification (they “two marshmallow” kids), were more socially competent, personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. They embraced challenges and pursued them instead of giving up in the face of difficulties; they were self-reliant and confident, trustworthy and dependable. They took initiative and plunged into projects.
The “one marshmallow” kids tended to have fewer of these qualities and shared a more troubled psychological portrait. They were seen shying away from social contact, they were stubborn and indecisive; easily upset by frustrations, thought of themselves as “bad or unworthy”, could be immobilized by stress, mistrustful and resentful of not “getting enough”, prone to jealousy and envy, tended to overreact to irritation with a sharp temper and so provoked arguments and fights.
Interesting results for sure! I suspect that many of those that walk the 500 mile Camino de Santiago certainly have a lot of the qualities that were present in those kids that delayed their gratification and held out for the two marshmallows. It takes a lot of emotional resilience to deal with all that this long walk delivers.
Delayed gratification. Something for us all to think about as we raise our children and grandchildren as well.
Photograph of the Week
Using my new Superzoom Nikon I was able to pull in this interesting view of a couple with there dog on a spit of land between the Yachats river the ocean. Made for a very interesting composition.