How big a role does self-discipline, the ability to delay gratification, play in one’s success? And, how early in a person’s life can we forecast their inclination to such? A famous study at Stanford University in 1972 by psychologist, Walter Mischel, apparently discovered this very key link and how to quantify it.
My friend, Dr. Joachim de Posada, CSP is a psychologist, speaker and mega-bestselling author. His book, a very short and entertaining business parable, Don’t Eat The Marshmallow … Yet!, based on this study, is not only one of my favorite books, but one which I’d suggest every parent share with their children (not to mention, read themselves again and again).
And, while at our monthly quasi-MasterMind/get-together with eight of our peers (luckily, our host, Terry Brock having a camera, tripod, and really cool post-production equipment) 🙂 I was able to sit down with Joachim and ask him to share this very important principle that just might be one of the defining principles of success.
Enjoy our brief discussion.
Check out Joachim’s recent TED Talk which was very entertaining. The video he showed of the little kids doing their best to resist eating that “marshmalloy delight … yet!” was too cute.
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I LOVE THIS INTERVIEW! Buying the Book now. I wonder if I went back to the 4 yr. old me if I would have eaten the marshmallow. Probably not, I don’t like marshmallows, but if it had been titled Don’t Eat The Cookie….Yet…..pretty sure I know how that would have turned out.
This was a great interview and something to really consider. Thank you so much Bob for sharing that moment with us. So fun and so informative at the same time. As parents and grand parents we can have an impact on our youth and we can also lead by our own example by being honest and working together as a family to create amazing lives! Love Marshmallows BTW 🙂
Thank you, Kathleen. And, what a great impact indeed that Parents and Grandparents can have. And, yes, marshmallows Rock, don’t they?
Wonderful interview Bob. It is an honor to have been interviewed by you. Thanks so much. Joachim de Posada
Joachim, the honor was/is mine, my great friend. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us!
What a great point Bob!!! And actually simple principle. This point I remember was discussed when I was a child. In our family they were called “collectors” and “spreaders”. The difference here is that you can change. When my family talked about it, they said that it was in your genes, and although you tried to change you would fall through. Funny – I believe we can change what we want – I know we can 🙂 Thank’s Bob. (And tell Randy Gage to behave LOL just joking)
Jean, thank you for your kind comments. And, I tend to think I would have eaten the marshmallow. Can you imagine if they’d have put a Dunkin’ chocolate coconut donut in front of me? It would have been eaten before they left the room! 😉
Thank you, Lene. Great commentary. And, I can tell Randy Gage to behave…but I suspect he won’t pay any attention. On the other hand, if YOU tell him… 🙂
So what you’re saying is that a good networker waits to “eat the marshmallow” because they build the relationship before trying to get the sale?
I like it!
Hi Beth, spoken like the true networking pro you are, my friend!! 🙂
What a wonderful interview, Bob! I love the fun, engaging way you and Joachiim have brought out the story of self-discipline through the marshmellow story. It was fascinating to learn how those children developed into adulthood. The question is — how does one develop self-discipline in those who want that marshmellow now?
Bob, thank you so much for sending this great and informative video out this morning. I LOVE it, and I have passed it along to my daughter, Brea. Unfortunately, as a parent, I don’t think I taught her this, but it is NEVER too late to learn. I know how much she loves and respects you and I know she will learn one of the most valuable lessons of her life from this, so thanks for picking up where I left off!
Hi, Bob. I saw Mischel speak last year in DC at the Association for Psychological Science conference. He seems like a lovely man.
Watching those various videos on YouTube of the kids is so much fun!
As you probably know, there is some debate about this research. A couple of links here:
Hi Steph, thank you for your comment. No, was not aware of the debate you referenced. While I had first read about the marshmallow experiment many year’s ago in Daniel Goleman’s book and, of course, more recently while reading Joachim’s book, it’s not something I’d really studied. Thank you for joining our conversation!
Thanks Bob, great to see two pros chewing the fat (or should I say marshmallow) on this powerful research. The key question is how we delay gratification. Most of us know we need to save, exercise and cut down on marshmallows but suffer from low impulse control. The key is taking a future rather than present focus. In essence, focus on the additional pleasure that will come when you delay gratification and the pain that will come if you don’t. The pain/pleasure driver was popularized by Tony Robbins but it’s a central principle of motivational theory. It’s why Einstein could say that imagination was more important than knowledge. If you can vividly imagine a future with “two marshmallows” you’ll forgo having one right now. Thanks again for more great content!
Hi Justin, thank YOU for joining us, and for your thoughts and suggestions. I appreciate your sharing that with us!
Thank you, Lynn. So glad you enjoyed that!
Stacy, thank you. That’s so very sweet of you to say (even sweeter than a marshmallow) ;-). Actually, though, I know you have been an awesome Mom to Brea because, as they say, “the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree” and she is an awesome young adult who is very much like her Mom was at her age. Love to the entire Family for me!
Thank you for introducing me to Joachim! You’ll not believe this, but halfway across the world in Nairobi Kenya, the marshmallow test is part of the parenting classes that we run. The marshmallow test is in Chapter 2 “Discipline101: self control” in the 10-week long class. It is amazing how you don’t even have to wait until a kid is 18. Our kids (6.5, 4.5, 2.5) have gone through this. Delayed gratification is directly related to discipline and order. As marshmallows are not that popular in Kenya, we use chocolate. We keep it in the fridge and have trained our kids on “waiting”. This has paid dividends already. At birthday parties, they’ll hold onto their bags of candy until they get home. They have understood that goodies are best enjoyed when shared with family.
This has translated in their studies. The kids will finish their school work first to the best of their ability so that they can enjoy play without any hinderance. They have no fear of a “recall” that will interrupt their fun. It is amazing how delayed gratification transcends to all spheres of life.
Kimunya, my pleasure. Thank you for joining our discussion. And, you and your wife sound like wonderful parents. Good for you!!
A lesson that we should all take to heart and if you are a parent, this should be a great topic for discussion at the dinner table. Maybe even reading the book with your kids. Thanks Bob for bring great people and ideas to the world.
Jim, thank YOU. And I love your idea of it being a dinner table discussion topic, as well as a book to read to the kids!
Fantastic interview and info Bob! Just ordered the book…can’t wait to get into it. Thanks as always for pointing me in the direction of mind expanding goodness!
Still laughing at RG’s antics. 🙂
Thank you, Sean. So glad you enjoyed it. And I believe you love Joachim’s book. Yep, that Randy is something, ain’t he? LOL
What a great interview. It is such an important topic that should be presented to the masses at every opportunity. With the Baby Boom generation turning 65 at a clip of 10 thousand per day this information rings true in so many ears today. Thanks again and let Randy know his book can be your favorite next time. See you in a couple of weeks.
Mike, thank you. It is an important topic indeed. And, yes, we’ll need to let Randy know that! LOL See you soon in West Palm Beach, Brother Mike!
Love, love, love that interview. Bob, thanks for sharing the wisdom of Dr. de Posada with us here my good brother 🙂
I love the marshmallow test. I find it fascinating to compare it with, for example, if the subject was given nothing and told to wait 15 minutes to get the first and second marshmallows. That does not sound nearly as stressful as having the first marshmallow available right away, and having to wait in order to get the second. One of the lessons I take away from the test is that having something is sometimes more stressful than not. Being able to eat the marshmallow right away and having to choose not to is harder than not having the “eat it now” option at all. I wonder how often we put ourselves square in the face of temptation, when we could choose to avoid it. By some criteria, having the opportunity to have a something right away is better than not, even if we ultimately choose to wait on it. But it is easy to overlook the cost, the discipline to handle the responsibility that goes along with that option. Sometimes not giving yourself the opportunity to make a poor choice is the best choice of all.
Brother Josh, my pleasure. So glad you enjoyed the conversation!
Joseph, very good points, and very worth thinking upon and considering the different options; including those we give ourselves within certain contexts. Thank you for sharing that with us!
Love this, you all are a trip! Randy’s interruptions was priceless. I used to be infinitely more disciplined than currently. I did make it to college and worked my tail off while there . . . can one lose that art of self discipline?
Hey that Ted Talk link is coming up 404, I’ll google it, just a heads up.
Hi Melissa, thank you for your kind comment. And, you bring up a great point. I think that you’re great point tells us that we need to stay ever-vigilante. I find the same thing happening to me from time-to-time with a need to get myself back on track.
Thank you for letting me know about the 404. We’ll get that fixed!
I was the kid eating the marsh mellow. These days I know better and am glad your guest agrees we always have the ability to change our destiny.
Absolutely, Mike. As the late, Jim Rohn said (paraphrased) “one of the great things about being a human being is that if there is something about yourself you don’t like, then change it. You’re not a tree.” 🙂 I guess we just need to be aware that we need to change, decide to do it, and then – if necessary – find a system to help do so most effectively. Thank you for sharing with us, Mike!