Lessons From The Marshmallow Test



Lessons From The Marshmallow Test



Why teaching your children patience is more important than any other skill.


In the 1960s, a Psychologist named Walter Mischel created a test to see how children practice self control. The premise was pretty simple. He took a group of children and and placed them alone in a room with a single marshmallow and instructions that they could eat the marshmallow any time they wanted, but if they were waited 15 minutes, they could eat two. Then hit turned on the cameras and recorded their reactions.

The study was designed to see the kinds of techniques children would use to resist their desire to eat the marshmallow. Although they knew they would get a second marshmallow if they waited the entire 15 minutes, many of the children couldn't resist and ate the marshmallow before the test was over.

Those who succeeded in waiting used a variety of techniques to distract themselves, such as turning their heads, pushing the marshmallow to the end of the table, singing songs, and avoiding the table entirely. The results were published and mostly forgotten outside of psychological circles.

Over 25 years later, the psychologists decided to reach out to the original participants to see how they were doing and the results were nothing short of amazing.

The majority of the people who resisted the marshmallow, and waited the entire 15 minutes earned, on average, more than twice as much as those who ate the marshmallow. In fact, the group that resisted the marshmallows were more successful on just about every measurable scale. They were more educated, owned more expensive cars, and even had better relationships. Those who ate the marshmallows had poor relationships, poor jobs, poor education, and even poor health.

The Marshmallow Test proved to be much more than a simple study in self-control. It gives us incredible insight as to one of the key skills you can teach children, PATIENCE. Based on the test, it seems to me that teaching patience is far more important than just about any other skill.

, Founder

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