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Delayed Gratification

Most of us are able to respond to a feedback loop in the short run. The real opportunity and challenge is to get much better at recognizing the long loops.

โ€” Seth Godin

A critical skill to develop is to be able to work on something today and not reap the benefits for a long time. Depending on the item, that delay may be days, months, years, or even beyond oneโ€™s lifetime.

This has been represented in the psychological experiment known as the Marshmallow Test, ultimately coming down to โ€œdo you want one marshmallow now, or two marshmallows in 15 minutes?โ€œ. Those who were able to wait demonstrated generally stronger life skills, including higher SAT scores, being able to cope with stress better, and a lower Body Mass Index when compared to those who caved and ate the marshmallow early.

We demonstrate this on a regular basis. We grow plants from seeds, knowing we wonโ€™t be able to harvest them for months. We invest in our retirement.