Thursday, October 07, 2010

Now & Later

Can you really wait for something wonderful?

Are you patient enough to wait for bountiful blessings, or are you willing to reap half of your rewards in exchange for instant gratification?

Whether we are talking professional aspirations, personal goals or romantic conquests, the idea of waiting can be sticky business.

Just look at this video.

The now famous "Marshmallow Experiment" originated as a test by Walter Mischel at Stanford University, and later discussed by Daniel Goleman.

The 1960s test compared a group of four-year-olds. Each were given a marshmallow with the promise they would receive another if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first.

Some kids had the ability to wait - others did not. Researchers followed those children into adolescence and discovered that those kids who could wait were better adjusted and more dependable. They also scored higher SAT scores.

So, what does this mean to you and me?

The "deferred gratification" link I posted above includes a comment that good impulse control may be good for educational achievement and life success.

This is totally along the lines of that rhyme my mom used to say.

Good things come to those who wait.

With the way my life has gone, I imagine that will be engraved on my headstone.

I wait. I wait for everything. I take that whole patience-is-a-virtue thing to an extreme. And I'm okay with that.

Because this waiting game brings on two things: the opportunity to savor the here-and-now, and the chance to anticipate something.

Isn't waiting half the fun of Christmas/Halloween/a birthday/graduation/whatever?

The waiting turns into excitement and anxiousness and an eager burning to receive whatever it is you're expecting.

Whether that be a kiss, a ring, a job offer, an experience or a meal.

For now, I wait.

I savor the bounty presented before me and I know that I will get twice as many marshmallows in the end.
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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


LJ said...

So true. Next time I get impatient about waiting I'll remind myself it's the anxiousness that creates the excitement!

Colin Talcroft said...

Weird. I wonder if you heard the recent piece on NPR's Radio Lab that talked about these experiments? I was just looking for video of the kids--and there it is.