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Marshmallows and Gratification

Anything related to matters of the mind


Came for the $. Stayed for the Ice Cream.
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2015
A lot of you have probably heard of the following experiment in some form or another, since it gained a lot of popularity.

What am I talking about?

The Marshmallow Experiment

This tasty sounding experiment was done in the 60s by Stanford professor Walter Mischel, in a row of psychological studies. Here's how the experim...

Wait. If you got some marshmallows in arm's reach please get one and put it in front of you. It's up to you if you eat it right now (I know you want to), but just let me tell you: if you wait until you finished reading this post, you can get you a second Marshmallow. F*ck it. You can get the whole bag.

It is up to you, to eat that little tasty f*cker or to wait and get even more of his kind.

Ok, ok. I know that you don't have some marshmallows with you (do you?). But that would be some kind of self experiment while reading about an experiment. So. An experi-ception. An Ex-ception? I'm getting off the track.

Fine. Let's get back on track.

The Marshmallow Experiment was conducted on 4-5 years old children and had a pretty simple set up. Each child was placed on a chair in an empty room with a table in front of them. On that table sat one lonely marshmallow.

Before leaving the room, the researchers then offered a deal to the children:
If the kid waits until the researcher comes back, he/she will get a second marshmallow. If, however, the kid eats the marshmallow on the table, he/she will not get a second one.

The researcher came back after 15 minutes.

Well, as you may already know and if not, probably imagined, some kids ate it right away, some tried to hold themselves back, but eventually gave in, and a few were able to wait until the researcher came back. And got their second marshmallow.

Now, let's get to the interesting part of it.

The researchers didn't stop here. They followed the children through the years and did some follow-up studies while also tracking each child's progress in different life areas.

What they found is pretty interesting.

The kids who were able to delay the gratification of eating that one marshmallow, to get a second one, were more successful in those different life areas (social skills, grades, lower likelyhood of obesity and more) than the ones who couldn't wait.

The researchers went so far to follow the (once) kids for 40 years. And every follow-up study showed, that the kids who waited for their second marshmallow were more successful in all tested life areas.

They had or had learned the ability to delay their gratification in aiming for even more gratification at a later point in time.


Yeah. You don't have to be born with that ability, it can be learned or trained.

There was even another similar study to show that. The only difference here was, that the kids were seperated into 2 groups.

They promised each child of both groups two different things before hand. They gave them crayons, and promised to bring them better ones later. They gave them stickers, and said they'll bring more later.

Now the first group never received their promised crayons and stickers.
The second group did.

It's pretty obvious how the follow-up marshmallow experiment went for each group.

That being said, the kids in the second group learned that waiting for their gratification is worth it, and that they are able to wait.

If you read TMF you know about instant vs. delayed gratification. And you know the importance of it in every endeavor that's worth achieving. All of them, if it's business, fitness, personal relationships, all are in some way or another forms of a process and progress. Aiming for instant gratification in those won't help you achieve your goals. Learning to delay your gratification is one necessary skill to have or if not, to learn for every worthwile goal in your life.

Now you even have a psychological experiment to back it up. And you have marshmallows.

Fine. Post is over. Get your second marshmallow.

You ate that one before I started my second paragraph, didn't you?
Great. Than get your second one. Or the whole bag.

Have a great day! :smile2:

For those of you who don't have marshmallows right now (probably all), here you go with an image at least.

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Last edited:


Busy Idiot
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Aug 9, 2016
The question is, how does one learn to delay instant gratification?

My initial idea: Make it a habit - for the first 4 weeks you have to power through it and use every ounce of willpower you have. until the decisions get easier.
I can't link it right now, but the order of "Be - Do - Have" will definetly help on that one.

Can you share any experiences or learnings on this?

Thank you for writing it up & posting it! :)

Gesendet von meinem XT1032 mit Tapatalk


Came for the $. Stayed for the Ice Cream.
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2015
Can you share any experiences or learnings on this?

One way, at least I experienced, to keep following a longer process, is to focus on the small steps.

This way you give your self some good form of instant gratification, while at the same time engaging in the process of rewarding yourself with delayed gratifcation.
An example I used while losing 37lbs last year, and still do now, that I started to lose the lbs to my goal weight, is to set yourself weekly weight loss goals instead of always picturing that seemingly miles away number. That's for the weekly gratification.

The daily one for me was the achievement of eating the right calories and right type of food.
Every shopping trip without sweets or sodas in the cart were a success, in other words instant gratifciation.
Every session at the gym was one.
Every gram lost was one, no matter how far away the number seemed, as long as I focused on the little numbers that slowly went down, I felt like a king.

I also formed a habit of hitting the gym right after work on my way home. Also one of preparing my food for the next day and always having everything at home that I need to cook and eat for the next 2 days, so I never had the excuse of not wanting to go to the grocery store.

That's just one personal experience.
Hope it helped you a bit though :)


Legendary Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Dec 6, 2016
This reminded me...

I did the marshmallow experiment with my kids one time.

They both waited for the second marshmallow.

My youngest said "I don't like marshmallows" and gave both of them to her sister.

Her sister said "I knew if I waited I would get her's too. Now I have four marshmallows. Can I please eat all of them now?!"

I'm either doing this parenting thing right, or I've created a monster haha.
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