Self-Control and the Concept of Delayed Gratification

When something appealing is presented to us, do we tend to jump right in with both feet, or do we weigh the options so as to determine best outcome? The Stanford Marshmallow experiment was a (late 1960’s) study in which children were placed in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they could wait for a short while before eating it, they will get an extra snack as a reward.

Watching this 4 minute YouTube video is a replication of the same experiment:

It is very interesting to see which children will patiently wait, cute to see how many will lick it or nibble it, and how many will go ahead and eat it.

Essentially, this experiment was about self-control and our ability to wait for something versus a need to be instantly gratified. Self-control is really about being able to regulate our emotions, thoughts and behaviours. If we have a good sense of self-regulation, we tend to be able to not only use our rational brain to weigh in on our decisions, we also have faith that waiting will bring a just reward.

It would seem then, that being conscientious of the bigger picture is something we can lean into when the “treat” is right in front of us. 🙂

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Rebecca Freeman on Unsplash


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