Life Hacks, More experienced Investors, New To Finance, Review

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.

Chocolate.

Coffee.

Shopping.

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.

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