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Be Successful by Learning Delayed Gratification

Posted By Jim On 06/25/2009 @ 12:36 pm In Personal Finance | 18 Comments

What if I told you that delayed gratification was the most important factors of success?

I bet you’d probably believe that it was plausible, but probably not likely. There’s probably something else in the mix right?

Well, while that may be true, Joachim de Posada, in this six minute TED talk, explains how delayed gratification was a good predictor of future success.

If you can’t watch the video or just want a textual recap of the Stanford study, here it is. They asked some four year old kids to stay in a room with a marshmallow for fifteen minutes. If they hadn’t eaten the marshmallow after fifteen minutes, they would get another one. So they would get two in total. Two thirds of the students ate the marshmallow and only a third lasted fifteen minutes. They followed up fourteen to fifteen years later and learned that ALL of the children who were able to delay gratification were pretty successful. They had good grades, good prospects, good relationships with their teachers. The rest of them were not – bad grades, dropped out, but only a few had good grades. (Here’s a discussion of the study in greater detail [3])

Interesting stuff.

He’s also the author of “How to Survive Among the Piranhas [4]” and “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow … Yet [5].”


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[3] Here’s a discussion of the study in greater detail: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/10/stanford_marshm.html

[4] How to Survive Among the Piranhas: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/amazon.php?asin=0974872466

[5] Don’t Eat the Marshmallow … Yet: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/amazon.php?asin=0425205452

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