I am pleased to see that I’ll be sharing my 40th with one of the best known psychological experiments of our time. In 1972 Walter Mischel conducted an experiment designed originally to study the development of deferred gratification (posh way of saying the power of waiting) in children. As you can see, they were left with a marshmallow, and promised another if they could resist eating it until the experiment technician returned.
As some of the kids in the experiment were in his daughter’s school he heard about their comings and goings over the next few years and, with the help of a few follow-up interviews when they became adults, he discovered that those who had originally resisted temptation were not only more satisfied with their lives but were also considered to lead more successful lives, with better jobs etc.
I have no idea if, as a child I would have waited, I do know that, apart from being very happy with my life I have learnt that you can’t have your marshmallow and eat it.