We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
That's all very nice but this idea that "success" is measured by "getting good grades at the university" is really very adolescent. Maybe it's why they call DC the ultimate college town.
The lesson about delayed gratification is something else entirely.
There are lots of very "publicly" successful people who did not get good grades at the university -- Mark Steyn, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Gates, etc. Many "artists" -- opera singers, painters, musicians, actors/actresses -- do not have alot of formal education, yet make alot of money and are "successful" if success means making alot of money.
Many emtrepreneurs and small business people would define success as being their own boss, whether they make alot of money or not.
If you read blogs such as this one, and are motivated to gather your thoughts and write them into the comments section, then you care about others and feel that you're good enough to have a thought worth sharing. Meaning you've already covered a lot of ground in life, ground that need not have been covered at all, ever.
I wanted to sit down and watch this now but decided it would be better if I waited for about two hours......
I wondered as I was watching this how much of the response was delayed gratification and how much was an obedient child who picked up on the expectation and reward for obedience. In a good home the carrot and the stick are used appropriately. So a child in a less stable environment might not understand or be motivated in this way. I believe what you were seeing was a reflection of good parenting and not some internal marker in the child's personality.
LIghten up, dear friends. The heart of this talk is whether the kids had learned to trust - at home. No trust? Eat it now, because it won't be offered again. A lot of 'success' however defined depends on functioning as a part of acommunity, and if you learned as a child that you cannot trust your community, you'll really be alone. Loners can be successes too, maybe one in 100,000. I guess it's just a lot easier for team players who learned to trust.
Bottom line? What each child did was what it was taught by the rules of conduct at home. Dr Joy Bliss - does this approach make any sense?
I call BS. What is the measure of success? Some becoming successful implies that others fail. What is the measure of failure? Did the marshmellow eaters become hobos and the non-eaters become derivitave traders at Goldman Sachs?
Is a plumber making $25/hr "successful"? Are they talking about academic achievement?
Discipline isn't the issue - discipline can be taught and encouraged regardless if the marshmellow is eaten or not.
I would also add that our entire economy is built on "now" rather than "later" and that applies to finance as well as car mechanics.
The original experiment involved informal followup by the researcher, who originally tested the children of his colleagues at the university.
Whether this was later formalized, I don't know.
It goes by quickly in this presentation, but the definition of "success" that was used included social adjustment, and general satisfaction/optimism.
And yes, academic achievement DOES give a rough indication of ability to work towards long-term goals. At least the initial test group were all children of academics, so native aptitude was assumed to be less of a factor.
This kind of study really brings out the old ant-grasshopper conflict, doesn't it? We all seem so afraid that if we defer any gratification at all, we'll miss out or become false to ourselves, as if a transitory desire were all there was to "self." Maybe the trick is that being true to ourselves is not incompatible with having an inner core of will that's not simply blown here and there by every passing desire. In other words, knowing that some desire is better than others. Just knowing that you can control yourself can be more gratifying than gobbling whatever is present at any moment, especially if the immediate gratification forecloses a greater future gratification. Eat less now, feet hurt less later. Or even: control your appetite now, feel like more of an autonomous adult right now.