Christian Long

Joachim de Posada: Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet

In TED Talks on May 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Extra credit reflection by SYLVIA A.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Joachim de Posada:  Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet

Oh that talk gave me a good laugh.

Joachim de Posada used humor to make a point.His talk was not over the top ridiculous. Even though it was funny, I still took it seriously. I think this is a good example of a talk that found a good modest balance between the usage of props, video, humor, and real ideas for the future.

I had already seen the Stanford marshmallow experiment previously. That first time I saw it I had a few lingering thoughts about it but I didn’t really know what to think about it. So for my conclusion I drew a blank.

Mr. Posada makes a great point here when talking about “delayed gratification”. What exactly does this mean? I define it as having the wisdom and self control to pass up instant gratification in expectations of achieving a larger goal in the end. In this consumer age we live in it’s hard to live by this principle. Most of us want what we want now now now and the temptation is too strong to resist. There is no such thing as patience, because we want everything to be convenient, easy, and fast. We believe these small gains really fulfill us and make us happy but in the end we are left feeling empty.

Now we is this trend a problem? Once we become accustomed to this instant gratification we become more and more incapable of waiting for long-term pay out. That means that qualities like endurance, patience, and self discipline and lacking from our society. If one is not willing to wait for true happiness, there is a void left that we start to fill with quick fixes of pseudo-happiness.

As far as marshmallows are concerned, the experiment is exemplifying this trait in our society at a very small scale and early stage in life. As Mr. Posada said, when they followed up with the one-third of children who didn’t eat the marshmallow they were generally much more happy and successful than the other two-thirds of children. They used their self discipline in all aspects of their life whether it is in relationships, a job promotion, school; anything that they had to work hard for over a long period of time to receive their desired outcome. These kids understood how delayed gratification can really benefit you in the long run, and I hope more of our population will soon realize the same.

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