Does Delayed Gratification Truly Affect Our Success?

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Does delayed gratification truly affect our success in life? In today’s society, we now live in a hyper connected world where we can do virtually anything all with the click of a button. We constantly strive to become faster and achieve better, but to what effect will delayed gratification have on our success in life? Mischel’s “The Marshmallow Test,” and Berger’s “The Invitation to the Lifespan,” have come to a similar conclusion that not only does delaying gratification in children and adolescents lead to the development of emotional control and can have long term effects in life, but it can also be taught. Although, I have not completed a delayed gratification experiment myself, based on personal experiences, I definitely agree with all both authors that delaying gratification can be both satisfying and beneficial thus, leading to what we perceive to be a successful life. Throughout childhood and our adolescent years, we learn to control our emotions, eventually gaining an understanding of how and when it is appropriate to express or suppress those emotions. This technique is referred to as emotional regulation or effortful control and is considered a lifelong endeavor, with early childhood being a crucial time for development (Berger. 2014, p.210) According to Berger, by age 6 signs of emotional regulation are evident with most children being able to become upset or angry without emotional outburst or proud without being narcissistic (Gross,2014; Lewis,2013). Emotional control and delayed gratification are developed using motivation either intrinsic (the joy felt within after achieving something) or extrinsic (the gratification felt after receiving praise or acknowledgment from outside sources) (Berger. 2014, p.214). Unlike in... ... middle of paper ... ...e made it a conscious effort to explain and demonstrate my actions and the reasons for them; and now instead of crying when she has been told no, she now asks why. Now I know after reading this, some of you may be inclined to believe that I am just grasping at straws; however, if you take a moment to ponder the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation concepts, it makes perfect sense. In fact, Mischel believes that, “whether we’re four years old or whether we’re 40 years old or 80 years old, we can transform mentally what the stimuli that are driving us are doing to us” (Mischel,2014). A prime example is Mischel’s “marshmallow test”. Mischel conducted numerous experiments using preschoolers, ages four and five, presenting them with a difficult decision of eating one treat immediately or patiently waiting a little longer and they would be rewarded with two (Mischel,2014).

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