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On Marshmallows and Will Power

What’s this big fuss about Marshmallows anyway?

In the series of Marshmallow books, Joachim de Posada and his co-writers describe the life of a man called Arthur, who learns the advantages that delayed gratification can give to individuals who are able to develop this skill.

This doesn’t just have applications in corporate life, it also has applications for study, exercise, diet, hobbies, financial life, and can be applied to reduce all addictive behaviours.

Often when I want something, I really want it.




Fair enough.

But what if I were able to minimise my coffee consumption so I only had one cup per day?

Would that improve my life?

In some ways, certainly: I’d have a lot of personal satisfaction from the fact that I was less addicted to caffeine; I’d have the dopamine-hit gladness that comes with achieving any goal; and I’d be exercising my ‘delayed gratification muscles’.

What about shopping?

What if I were to limit my spending on un-necessary items to $50 per fortnight? What if I were to put the rest of that money into long-term savings or investments? What if I kept doing that for 15, 30, 45 years? Would that make a difference in my life?

You bet your Granma’s sweet red dressing gown it would.

Joachim de Posada describes an experiment that took place in the years leading up to 1990, where researchers at Stanford University put a marshmallow in front of a pre-school age child, told the child that they would give them two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes, walked out of the room, and left the child to decide whether to eat one marshmallow or wait for two.

The children who were able to wait for two marshmallows did better across a range of indicators 20 years later. They were happier. They did better socially. Their grades were better. They were more successful at work.

It’s interesting.

Delayed gratification is interesting. It’s a muscle you can exercise. It’s a habit you can learn. And most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Just do a tiny bit at a time. One step then the next then the next, but Tiny steps. Be kind.

Comment below what you would change in your life, if you set your mind to it, gently.


By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

3 thoughts on “On Marshmallows and Will Power”

  1. I love this. I definitely need to practice Delayed Gratification. A lot of bad habits and it’s negative effects to our body and mind is because we didn’t think long enjoy to resist desires and wants. Thanks.

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