Delay Gratification to Help Improve Your Life - Deepstash

A significant amount of literature links those topics, but it all started with the Marshmallow Experiment: a study led by Walter Mischel in 1972.

This experiment was simple, still powerful. Mischel tested hundreds of children from 4 to 5 years old by offering them a simple deal. A researcher brought them in a room with a marshmallow on the table and told them he needed to leave for about 15 minutes. If the child wouldn’t have eaten the marshmallow, then he would have received a second one, but that wouldn’t happen if he ate the first one.


“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” — Brian Tracy


Discipline is a goal you can reach over two paths:

  • Pleasure withholding
  • Unpleasant habits.


You need to use the rational part of your brain and persuade yourself to renounce easy gratification in the present, so you can have greater satisfaction later. And since you delayed the pleasure of the marshmallow for the moment, reward your fatigue with twice the price.


Do you know what makes people successful? Healthy habits performed every day.

  • Make the habit so simple you can’t say no. Let it involve the smallest effort, so it doesn’t considerably change your life in the beginning.
  • Use the 5 Seconds Rule. Start as soon as possible with the practice and act before your mind makes excuses.
  • Improve your habit by 1% every day. Once you established a habit, improve it slowly, without overdoing.
  • Convince yourself of its worth. Keep in mind the marshmallow experiment and use it to motivate yourself to stick on a habit.


If you want to use well your rational part of the brain, and apply delayed gratification, think about your ability to delay gratification as a dam.

  • If you keep it open, the river of minor pleasures passes in any instant under your gates, and you get used to it.
  • If you close it, the river will make the level of water grow, until it becomes a magnificent full dam. If you open then your gates, the pressure of the water will astonish you, as the pleasure you will get from the delay.


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