Have you ever been on a project and ‘failed’ because you quit?
There was once a famous experiment where there was a group of children who were given a plate with one marshmallow on it. They were given a choice: eat the marshmallow now, or wait 20 minutes and be given 2 marshmallows.
Some of the kids ate the marshmallow immediately. Others agreed to wait but had trouble and succumbed before the end of the time. Another group was able to wait the full time and was duly rewarded with 2 marshmallows.
These kids were followed up over several decades and the findings were that the children who were not able to delay their gratification did poorly in life, versus those who could delay their gratification.
Not only that, but the kids who couldn’t delay had overactive parts of the brain, particularly those that produce dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in the reward-pleasure mechanism.
So the lesson to be learned from this is if you can learn to delay your gratification – to persist – you will be rewarded – with this video below!
But what if you were one of the ‘1 Mallow Kids?’
There are a few tips that can help:
- Take up meditation. Meditation quiets the mind, and it has been shown that people who have difficulties in concentrating, including conditions such as ADHD, benefit from meditation.
- Know what you want precisely. If your goals are fuzzy then you will never have anything to achieve!
- How is your level of ‘desire for what you want?’ According to Napoleon Hill it should be a ‘white hot’ desire, not a ‘red hot’ desire. The read hot variety tends to fire you up but the fire is short lived.
This is why ‘motivational rallies’ at sales events only have short term benefits. By contrast, a white hot desire is more sustainable in the longer term. If your desire is not high enough, you will be prey to self sabotaging behaviour such as self doubt and procrastination.
- Every day focus on your goal, read it out aloud. Carry it around on a ‘goal card’ and pull it out once or twice a day.
- Do you believe in yourself? If you experience self doubt, you will less likely to go the distance because your inner thoughts will sabotage your efforts. To remedy, write down positive affirmations about yourself and read them daily or twice daily. Incorporate them into your goal card.
- Have a definite plan to achieve what you want. If your plans are fuzzy, even if you have a definite goal, they will take much longer to achieve and will test out your ‘marshmallow capacity!’
- Are your plans sound? If you think they are, then you will have confidence to move forward unhindered. However if you have any doubts, do what it takes to overcome that – such as getting advice from qualified individuals.
- Lean on your support network. If you have a group of friends or colleagues, tap into your ‘master mind’ for support and encouragement. Perhaps ask some of them to be ‘accountability partners
- Develop good habits. Regularize your productive behaviors. Set your self a daily ‘task’ list and continually ask yourself ‘What 5 things can I do today that will get me closer to my goal.’ And of course, write this list the day before you actually do the things on the list!