Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The waiting game

Columbia University Psychologist Walter Mischel conducted an experiment on a group of four-year olds. The children were offered a marshmallow, and told that they could have it now, or if they could wait, they could have two. Some children grabbed the marshmallow on the spot but many of them were able to hold off. Mischel followed up on the children as adults and discovered that those who didn’t eat their marshmallows that day were generally more self-motivated, successful in school and considered emotionally intelligent. Those who didn’t wait suffered from low self-esteem and were easily frustrated.
--Financial Highway


An important lesson that can only mean one thing: People who are self-motivated, successful in school, and destined for greatness have a natural aversion to marshmallows.

It’s like being born pretty or playing the trumpet by ear. Somethings you just can’t pretend; truth will out. This marshmallow hatred – many are called, but few are chosen.

Don’t take my word for it. Throw an elegant S'mores party in Washington, DC, for example, and what have you got? Obama, Clinton, and Zoellick by themselves in a corner, picking out the white bits.

Oh, this goes way back, to the beginning of time. Ask the historians. How often did they find Moses, Caesar, Genghis Kahn, or George Washington with a bag of Kraft’s finest?

I don’t agree that, instead of war, we should lock the world leaders in a room and let them duke it out. I say, lock all the world leaders in a room with nothing but hot chocolate and a plate of the puffy floaters. Let the weak sisters reveal themselves.

Not to brag, but I hate marshmallows, always have. And I'm so glad the measure of ultimate success has nothing to do with roast beef sandwiches and Fritos -- a sack lunch that never makes it past an 8 a.m. traffic jam on the 110 freeway.

(Your parting gift. I heard about these guys on PRI The World. Their music makes me feel all marshmallowy inside.)

41 comments:

  1. Maybe John Boehner was able to forego his marshmellow? Now he's "successful," but oh, he weeps.

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  2. Hate marshmallows. Hate being judged by my peers for hating them.
    Glad to think I now have ammunition back - if I can get motivated enough to use it.

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  3. "Puffy floaters." (TM) by K. Bugge.

    Another classic. All I had to do was read the article and already I'm preparing for your hysterical take on it.

    Not a big fan of marshmallows myself. And of course we know that delayed gratification brings more rewards ... in the form of more delayed gratification.

    If they based an entire lifetime study on just one marshmallow event, that's pretty amazing in itself. If you're going to track kids for a lifetime, you might want a few more bits of data.

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  4. Offer me a bag of Golden Flake potato chips and Barber's Onion Dip and I"m a gonner. No marshmallows pour moi, unless, there's some Nutella involved, then get back with me.

    My WV is TINGLY,
    Lordy that could be the case.

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  5. Bill Frisell; longtime jazzman.
    Endless platitudes to sell a record. I still prefer Ry Cooder (chicken skin music)
    These two sound great together, though I wish they'd stuff a marshmallow in it and just play.

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  6. That's the problem with world leaders -- they don't like their peeps.

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  7. Well pfffffttttt I fail...I can eat 'em by the bag.

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  8. http://cuteoverload.com/2008/03/20/peeps-pre-easte/

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  9. I don't usually eat mallows on their own, but this time of year, I do buy one box of peeps and snap their little heads off, one by one. Funny, I'm rather docile the rest of the year and can take or leave them the rest of the year...wonder what the good doctor would say about THAT?!? ;-O

    And, for proof of how kids might grow up, I'd rather go watch the Up series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Series), which another should be out later this year or 2012

    wv: fogis....I'm not touching that one.

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  10. Oh man, should have delayed this post until Easter. Some peeps never learn.

    Bandit, don't you think the Brazilian sings like Caetano Veloso? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d94WJj6OWQ

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  11. I'm not a fan of those puffy peeps but I do like toasted marshmallows. Could that have something to do with the fact that I'm still waiting for the gratification at the end of the delay?

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  12. Gaddafi: "All my people love me. They would die to protect me."

    Smells like marshmallows.

    D.

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  13. Oh yea, peeps in the microwave for a few seconds. Freaks everyone out!

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  14. I don't get marshmallows. It's sugar and corn syrup whipped. Has sort of a chalky texture. Weirder than peanut butter. At least peanut butter I can understand on an intellectual level.

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  15. All this marshmallow scorn means we're certainly destined for greatness, if not great already.

    Speaking of peeps, this site has been around forever, but in case you haven't seen, MIT scientists conduct diabolical experiments on unsuspecting peeps. (Brenda will like it fer sher)http://www.peepresearch.org/

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  16. As a testament to my ability to raise delayed gratification to an art form, I need only point out my holiday tradition of waiting until the evening of Christmas Day to open my presents. As far as the test results go, I think I may fall into the one percentile that doesn't fit.

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  17. I ate the marshmello (just can't spell it)

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  18. Carolynn's restraint borders on the freakish.

    GG

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  19. A golden toasted marshmallow wrapped in good dark chocolate with graham crackers...what's not to love...but since I can only eat one...and usually wait til the kids have had a couple each...where does that put me in the scale???

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  20. Chieftess: After that, best to avoid any scale.

    In rap circles, the study of Peeps amounts to demographics.

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  21. These sorts of studies always make me roll my eyes, but I love your take on the results. Raw marshmallows don't thrill me, but I do like s'mores. Does that mean I'm easily frustrated when the heat's on?

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  22. Well, I'm with Lnda. I can eat a bag of marshmallows in one go - it's the best comfort food. And now I know why I've never been successful at anything.

    Karin, even if you're so restrained you can leave the marshmallows alone, I'm glad to know you, too, eat your packed lunch before you even get to work.

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  23. Whew. Glad it wasn't Snickers.

    The Up series: brilliant.

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  24. Not hard to pick out the girl scouts in this crowd.

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  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AszqfR6as8k

    Bring on the trombones!

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  26. a bag of marshmallows? unless you're making s'mores for an entire troop, they just turn into rocks, which can also be useful, but I digress.

    Petrea---Snickers?...{snicker} just look at it like it's a, well, something Boz puts out, then I'm sure you can wait a long time before having to have a snickers.

    Back to marshmallows----I annoyed a scout leader once by teaching other scouts in my troop to take a marshmallow between your 2 index fingers and 2 thumbs and make like you're pulling taffy---which turns the stuff into the "fluff", which I find more useful and tasteful than actual marshmallows. She was not amused. I *however* figured it kept us all busy and it made sure we kept our hands to ourselves! Oh, and made sure we at least washed our hands AFTER the pulling was done!

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  27. Miss J imagined herself as a child being put to this test. In her heart, she knows she would have been in the instant gratification group, doomed for all her days to being less emotionally intelligent. Sugar, you are an evil master!

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  28. Trish,
    I wanted to say something about turning marshymallows into taffy - my roommates and I did it in college and I'm sure it had something to do with sexual frustration, OK, college IS all about sexual frustration - but I didn't want to rile up all the mallow haters. Personally, I liked using the colored marshymallows. I wonder what that says about me...prolly nothing I guess.

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  29. http://www.justborn.com/product-finder/peeps/easter

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  30. Paula, somehow I think our college experiences were polar opposites.

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  31. I don't often eat marshmallows. But when I do, I get them from Little Flower Candy Shop. On Colorado Blvd, across suicide bridge - but it's worth it!

    If that's too risky for you, you can also get their marshmallows at one of the EuroPane's here in Pasadena.

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  32. For a number of reasons this doesn't surprise me. And I now regret it. The taffy pulling.

    wv ovolites

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  33. Well, shame on all you marshmallow haters. Marshmallows are delicious!!! A roasted marshmallow, a little burnt on the outside, all gooey on the inside, is a food of the gods, which is why you actually do include marshmallows in ambrosia. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in you. I bet Phoebe and Albert like them.

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  34. love that music. Hate Marshmallows. WInning!

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  35. somehow, AH, I think our college experiences were more similar. However, Paula, being a teen in GS...well, anyway...pulling taffy sure kept us busy.

    Marg---actually, I've found the most dogs don't know what to do with marshmallows, other than the chase them around the house. Even the toasted ones--despite the fact that most dogs have a sweet tooth. Think it is the texture, which is my problem with them, except when they are perfectly toasted.

    winning! ;-)

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  36. I also hate marshmallows (unless they're burnt to a crisp in the campfire, cuz then they don't taste like marshmallows anymore). Even my dog turns her nose up at them - and that's something!

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  37. Sounds like some of us were eating marshmallows by the bag in college.

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  38. Must be that Adonis DNA

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  39. the roast beef sandwich, fritos AND the marshmellows wouldn't make through the drive to work for me! I might even roast them with my car's cigarette lighter...

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