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Lessons From Marshmallow Experiment Can Make You Wealthy

Level Up Coding | Jayden Levitt | Feb 2, 2023

Flikr Oscar Thompson Ray Dalio - Lessons From Marshmallow Experiment Can Make You Wealthy

Image: Flickr/Oscar Thompson

You Must Understand the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.

  • Experiment:  Walter Mischel was a psychologist who led a study on delayed gratification at Standford University (Stanford Marshmallow Experiment). In this study, a child was offered a choice between a small but immediate reward or two small rewards if they waited for a while. During this time, the researcher left the room for about 15 minutes and then returned. The reward was a marshmallow or pretzel stick, depending on the child’s preference.
    • Conclusion: In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who could wait longer and delay gratification for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes.  Researchers measured these life outcomes by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index and other life measures.

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Ray Dalio:

I want to distinguish that there’s a big difference in people’s opportunities worldwide, but if you compare two people with equal opportunities. When it comes to money, it’s delayed gratification that separates them.  Once you realise that deferred gratification will improve you, you begin to count and say how many days, months, weeks, or years can I live if I don’t spend the money I have coming in.

Like the marshmallow test, you must delay gratification with your finances.  When you save, the next natural question you ask yourself is, where should I hold, and where should I keep this money?  When it comes to money, and you don’t spend it for instant gratification, it means you’ve got savings.

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The next thing that comes at you is, what do I do with my savings?  Now you experience something different with the money you have, compared to the person who spends it straight away.

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