Updated: Dec 29, 2021
So these smarty pants scientists at Stanford University did a series of experiments called the “Marshmallow Experiment”, studying delayed gratification. Several young children were given the option of having one small treat now (a marshmallow, doughnut or something similar) or two treats if they waited longer, approximately 15-20 minutes. It was found that the children who “were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, Body Mass Index and other life measures.”
But here’s the thing. I am not worried about my SAT score, try not to be overly concerned about my BMI. My educational attainment was pretty good and I’m not really sure what they mean by “other” life measures. What about the happiness part? The laughing part? Does a high IQ make a person happy? Doesn’t really seem like that was addressed at any point by the smarty pants professors.
I am working on having more patience in my life. Apparently good things come to those who wait (insert eye roll). My compound interest is my friend. Research is a good idea, usually. But be careful the research doesn't go on for so long that you miss the reward.
What about if while you are waiting for the two doughnuts, waiting patiently, doing the work, holding on to be sure you are positive it will be a flavour you absolutely love, or that they use organic, non GMO, pesticide free flour produced locally, the doughnuts get mouldy. Or stale. Or someone else finds them in the office kitchen fridge and even though they have your name on them they gobble them up and enjoy every crumb. They have an awesome afternoon sugar high and you have . . . well, nothing.
I do believe I need to not be so sporadic at times, to stop and think twice. Maybe consider something for a liiiitle longer than 15-20 minutes, or seconds, yes. But I think most of the time I just want to make sure the doughnut I pick is a flavour I will like, maybe something new. And that I have someone to laugh with at the doughnut shop while I am eating it. I will enjoy the moment . . . so much. Without waiting for something bigger or better or different or safer. Without spending the entire afternoon trying to decide what I want. So long that then the shop is closed and they have none left on the shelves.
Enjoy the sugar rush that is life. Appreciate the gifts that are in front of you, right now. See you at the doughnut shop.
I will not have regrets. I will dance forward and enjoy those around me and tell them how much I love them. Every day and out loud. I enjoyed that doughnut and it made me smile. I was patient enough but I enjoyed it before it’s deliciousness passed me by. I was not scared to try a new flavour and it was worth it.
Enjoy the sugar rush that is life. Appreciate the gifts that are in front of you, right now. See you at the doughnut shop. Mine will be gluten free and yours will be on me. We only get one each. But since we are together we can try each others. A little bit of both.
Barbie Wharton is a writer, speaker, mompreneur and Bell’s Palsy survivor. Life is better together. And in the sun. Find her on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In. Podcast Guests profile here. Bell's Palsy Talk with Barbie here.