The Marshmallow Experiment


The Marshmallow ExperimentBy Randy Locklier, President of Gulf Financial

Don’t we all love smore’s? I do! On a recent mountain trip, we enjoyed them by the firepit. Melting chocolate and marshmallow oozing over a warm graham cracker is so delicious. Could you resist?

In 1972, an experiment was conducted at Stanford University. Children were brought into a room one at a time and sat down at a table. On the table was a marshmallow. The researcher told the children that he was leaving the room for 15 minutes and that if they did not eat the marshmallow, they would get a second one upon his return. A simple choice: one treat now or two later. Only one in three could wait. The really interesting part came later. Stanford researchers studied these children for 40 years (That’s right!) and made an amazing discovery. Over and over again, by any measure, the children who waited succeeded in life at a much higher rate than those who didn’t wait. Higher SAT Scores, graduation rates, income, job performance, net worth, as well as overall life and relationship satisfaction, were the norm in this group. Is there a message here for us?

Squishing a SmoreTrue happiness, said Aristotle (c. 300 B.C.) is about developing daily spiritual habits and surrounding yourself with people who grow your soul. At the center of spiritual life is the concept of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is an essential element of self-control.

When you disavow immediate pleasure to seek a long-term higher value goal, you are practicing delayed gratification. It is here that we will move toward our greatest potential in this life. Studies have shown, like the Marshmallow Experiment, that deferred gratification is one of the most effective personal traits of highly successful, happy people. People who learn to manage their need to be satisfied in the moment thrive more in their careers, relationships and finances than people who give into it.

This seems to be proof of a path to an abundant and fulfilling life in this earthly realm. What of the spiritual realm? Once must have faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is this faith, this hope for the future that gives us the strength to deny ourselves, pick up the cross daily and walk in the will of our Maker. A life aligned with the will of God creates real joy that keeps our happiness meter on high!

Just think for a moment about some of the things in life that bring us immediate pleasure but can impose upon our physical, spiritual and mental health. Food, drugs, gambling, alcohol (ever had a hangover?), sex, screaming in anger or overusing our credit cards. These things don’t necessarily bring out the best in us, they just ease our discomfort or satisfy our desires for a moment. Our modern society is one in which instant gratification is glorified and obtainable, becoming a barrier to many seeking the spiritual life. To some, these temptations open the door to turmoil, addiction and death.

Jesus teaches us not to store up treasures on earth, but to store up our treasures in heaven, for where our treasure is, there will be our hearts also. A person will never be successful on a spiritual walk without knowing how to say no to temptation and the pleasures of this world. Delay a little gratification and you will draw close to God. Say no to sin and temptation and they will flee from us. Believe that the promises of Christ are true and the promises will come to pass in our own lives and the next.

That’s Good News for us all!

Great to be with you again. Until next time be happy, be safe, and be blessed. Visit or call (833) 403-4041