My whole life's a marshmallow

by phil on Sunday May 24, 2009 11:21 PM

I'd be interested to see if there's a correlation between high delayers and happiness.

There's this fascinating New Yorker article about measuring self-control in children, and predicting whether or not they'll have behavioral problems and poor performance in school. You put a marshmallow in front of a child and tell her that if she can resist eating the marshmallow, she'll get a second marshmallow. The "high delayers," the children that can wait, turn out to get better SAT scores.

A friend of mine asked, "So would you have eaten the marshmallow?" My response was, "You damn right I wouldn't have. Hell, my whole life's a marshmallow." I'm too good at restricting what would be "convenient" or "going with the flow" such that I've abused myself horribly to get better grades or achieve other forms of success.

The findings of the study, for the most part, will be helpful, because it can lead to understanding how we can help students perform better. But I'm curious about excessive self-control, for example, in cases of suicidal pre-med students, Buddhist monks, or over-ambitious careerists who sacrifice The Good Life for a "higher" purpose.

(Hmm, I think I'm trying to tell myself something with this post.)


Squidhelmet said on May 25, 2009 8:29 AM:

Time to buy a bag of marshmallows and make up for lost time?

Like the new header! Reminds me of those Daniel Benmergui games!

Philip Dhingra said on May 25, 2009 9:56 AM:

Haha, yeah, he was my inspiration for it. Now, the next step is to have the header change depending on what time it is.

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