€100,000 now or €1 million in 10 years?

Did you know that it has been shown that people who are capable of making sacrifices in the short term and controlling their instincts tend to have better results in the medium and long term? Like almost everything, it depends on a certain genetic component, but it can also be trained. I tell you in this post.
100.000€ ahora o 1 millón de € en 10 años

I have recently seen the Spanish film El Test. The way I see it, I must tell you that it’s not that I think it’s a great movie, but it has made me think a lot. The film revolves around the following dilemma. If you were offered the choice between receiving €100,000 now or waiting 10 years and receiving €1 million, what would you choose?

This question is inspired by the experiment carried out in the 1960s by the American psychologist, and professor at Stanford University, Walter Mischel. The experiment was called THE MARSHMALLOW TEST. Professor Mischel carried out numerous experiments that consisted of the following: boys and girls from 4 to 6 years old were offered a marshmallow and were promised another one if they could wait 10-15 minutes without eating it. The researchers left the children alone and returned later, checking if they had been tempted to eat the marshmallow or not (in this case their behavior was rewarded by giving them another marshmallow). Subsequent studies showed that those boys and girls who were able to self-control and expect greater gratification had better future outcomes in their lives (less likely to take drugs, be obese, respond better to stress, had better social skills and others). They concluded that THE ABILITY TO DELAY GRATIFICATION WAS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS IN LIFE. It is what in psychology is called DELAYED GRATIFICATION.

In other words, people who can make sacrifices in the short term, to control their instincts, tend to have better results in the medium and long term. It makes all the sense in the world. For example, sacrificing to study hard at a young age (when many people find it hard or would rather work and get paid or goof off) often leads to great results in the future. And the same happens with food, sports or almost any area of life.

Now, ON WHAT DOES IT DEPEND THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE MORE SKILLED THAN OTHERS IN TERMS OF DELAYED GRATIFICATION? Well, as in almost all areas of life, there is a certain genetic component and it can also be trained, and improved with practice. James Clear, an American psychologist specializing in willpower, RECOMMENDS 3 SIMPLE IDEAS:

  1. Start incredibly small. Make your new habit “so easy you can’t say no.”
  2. Improve one thing, by one percent. Do it again tomorrow.
  3. Find a way to get started in less than 2 minutes.

Sacrificing yourself in the present to have a better future is essential in your life. Tony Robbins, recognized as the best coach in the world, often says a quote that I love and that sums up this idea well. Says Robbins, “People often overestimate what they can achieve in the short term and often underestimate what they can achieve in the long term.” And I think it’s an important reflection. We live in a world where immediacy and lack of effort are increasingly present in our lives. We want to learn a language in a few weeks, lose weight effortlessly, and so on with many things in our lives. Seems like a big mistake to me. Almost all the important things in our lives require self-control and sacrifice in the present for better results later. It is perfectly exemplified by the marshmallow test and is the central theme of the film The Test. So don’t forget, sacrifice yourself in the short term, and invest in yourself with effort, surely your effort will be worth it.

I end with a quote from psychologist Walter Mischel, “When you realize that your willpower is basically learning to control your attention and your thoughts, then you can really start to improve them.”

Xavi Roca

I am Talentist, I help organizations, managers and professionals to achieve high performance through enhancing their leadership and personal brand. I am passionate about leadership, high performance team management and Personal Branding, and I have dedicated my professional career to helping companies and professionals develop and enhance their talents and strengths to achieve their maximum development and performance.

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