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What's The One Quality The Successful Possess? It's All About The Marshmallows!
Success; It's something everyone wants but not something everyone achieves. So what is the one quality that certain individuals possess that can help assist them in becoming more successful in life, business, sport, health & fitness, body composition, etc.?
Let's first go back to the 1960s when a Stanford professor, Walter Mischel, conducted a series of psychological studies. Walter and his team tested hundreds of children ages four and five and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success. This study was published in 1972 and became known as the Marshmallow Experiment.
Children were brought into a private room and a marshmallow was placed in front of them and then the researcher offered a deal to the child. The researcher told the child that he would leave the room and if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, the child would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. But, if the child chose to eat the marshmallow while the researcher was gone, the child would not receive a second marshmallow. The researcher left the room for 15 minutes and the childrens’ behavior was observed during this time.
What made this study even more interesting is that the researchers continued to follow and study these children over the next 40 years and the results were astounding. The children that displayed delayed gratification (chose not to eat the marshmallow while the researcher was gone) ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. Fascinating, is it not? As behavioral psychologist, James Clear, mentions, " this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life."
James goes on to mention that choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction is what delayed gratification is all about. James Clear mentions that these studies of course are just one piece of data and that human behavior is more complex than that. Regardless, James mentions that the studies make one thing very clear; if you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and to take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what's easy. That is one powerful statement right there.
I'm sure in your mind, your wheels are now turning. You are starting to think about your success (or lack thereof) as well as others and their success (or lack thereof). It's probably becoming very clear that possessing the quality of delayed gratification can lead to success.
Let's look at it from a workout perspective. We talk about how working smarter (not harder) is the key to success. When we workout smart, we are working out in the right heart rate zones. Working out smart is a process, a journey and a huge commitment. It takes time, effort, energy, focus and discipline. As I've mentioned before, it's easy to work out hard, but it takes time, effort and energy to work out smart.
What else does it take to work out smart? You guessed it, delayed gratification. When we workout smart, we have to check that athletic ego at the door. Some workouts may feel very easy, as if we are not working out hard. Those that are willing to delay gratification understand the process and understand that building efficiency takes time. But those that are not willing to delay gratification will ignore and abandon the "workout smart" mentality and just go hard.
Let's look at delayed gratification when it comes to nutrition and eating right. There may not be a better example of this. I will go out on a limb and say that virtually every individual that is amazingly lean, light & fit possess the quality of delayed gratification. Parties, family gatherings, holiday get-togethers, etc., are great examples of this. The majority of the individuals at these functions are going to partake in the excess food and beverage that is being served. But at the same time, you will find those certain few individuals that choose not to. They are willing to delay gratification in order to achieve goals they have set forth for themselves.
Is delayed gratification a quality that you possess? If so, fantastic! If not, no worries; James Clear mentions, just like we can train our body in the gym, we can train our ability to delay gratification. If we are looking to become successful, in any facet of life, we must remember what Clear says, "if you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and to take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what's easy." Are you ready to improve your ability to delay gratification? 40 Years of Stanford Research Found That People With This One Quality Are More Likely To Succeed
WORKOUT SMART, EAT RIGHT, GET RESULTS™!
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
9Round Nutrition Coach
Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year