Did you know that Americans rate lack of willpower as one of their biggest problems?
It’s not hard to understand because lack of willpower prevents us from accomplishing many of our goals.
But low willpower has even more consequences in our lives. And believe it or not, our amount of willpower can be determined when we’re four years old.
In 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted a famous experiment, now referred to as the “marshallow experiment”. He put a marshmallow in front of 600 four to six year olds. The kids were told if they could wait 15 minutes to eat it, they would get 2 marshmallows.
A minority of kids were able to wait. But those kids who waited had impressive qualities later in life. Compared to the kids who gave in and ate the one marshmallow, the kids who delayed gratification had SAT scores 200 points higher, were rated as more popular, conscientious, had better self-esteem and generally were more successful in life.