Have you ever heard of the Marshmallow Experiment? The Marshmallow Experiment is one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology which is often cited as evidence of the importance of self-control. Walter Mischel and his colleagues performed an experiment with a group of 3 to 5 year olds. The kids were given a choice. Eat 1 marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes and get 2 marshmallows. The experiment was intended to measure children’s ability of self-control by delaying gratification.
- About 30 percent of the kids were able to wait the fifteen minutes to get the 2nd marshmallow.
- The researchers followed the kids and found that the ones that had self-control and delayed gratification were more likely to have better scores on tests, obtain jobs, better health, and more wealth.
What’s ironic is that Walter Mischel himself had a terrible time quitting smoking. He knew cigarettes could kill him, but yet failed with self-control and couldn’t quit for years. The turning point was when he saw a man with metastasized cancer from smoking. Finally Mischel realized he was fooling himself.
From then on, when he wanted a cigarette, he would create a picture in his mind of the man he saw. In all of his work, Mischel has consistently found that the crucial factor in delaying gratification is the ability to change your perception of the object or action you want to resist.
As the experiment results found, a key to success with your finances is self-control/delayed gratification.
If you want to master self-control, go pick up Walter Mischel’s book: The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control
Once you have that mastered, you can start working on the evil twin of self-control which is procrastination. Listen to my full podcast below:
Date Posted: 08/11/2016 Advice provided in this article is meant for educational purposes only and financial education is important to us. Before making decisions regarding your personal financial situation, please consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence. If you would like to discuss your Retirement Income Plan with an HCM Wealth Advisor, please give us a call – 513-598-5120. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, we serve clients in 28 states, and we’d love to help.