“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau
In the time before bills, I loved getting mail.
All through high school I had penpals from nearby schools, and most of them were people I met at debate tournaments.
All of them were girls.
Seeing an envelope with my name on it in a girl’s handwriting was one of my favorite things in the world. I’d want to open it right now.
But I wouldn’t. I’d try an experiment instead. I’d put the envelope on my desk and leave it until I no longer felt like I had to open it. Sometimes that would take a couple minutes, or a couple days.
The thing is, I couldn’t trick myself out of it, or lie my way out of waiting.
The feeling of “have to” would have to be truly out of my system before proceeding.
Flash forward to the time where I can instantly know any fact, have any food delivered, or flat abs in 2 weeks, I feel like instant gratification comes at a price; our well being.
Science backs me up on this.
In the late 60’s & early 70’s a scientist Walter Mischel came up with an ingenious experiment to test children’s capacity for delayed gratification called “The Marshmallow Test.”
He would give a marshmallow to a kid and tell them they could eat it now & that’s it, or they could wait 10 minutes and if it still hasn’t been eaten, they will get a second marshmallow.
Years later Walter checked in with the (now grown up) kids, and discovered they were more successful in school, got higher test scores, better able to handle stress, etc. Basically any metric we use to measure success, the kids who were able to wait were better at it.
This seems to suggest that cultivating a practice of patience is one of the most essential skills that pays off the most. The clock is ticking, though. The sooner you start practicing, the more time you have for it to pay off.
How’s your patience? What are you doing to cultivate it?
Want to get started? I can help.