Though the marshmallow test was taken by 4-year-olds, other research into willpower focused on adults.
The research was highlighted in the book, “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control,” by Walter Mischel, and discussed in a Feb. 15, 2015, column in The Tennessean newspaper of Nashville by Gregg Steinberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee and author of “Full Throttle.”
Steinberg suggested several ways to improve one’s willpower. In the first, he advises to focus on the future. Many of us only think about today, and how we can be instantly gratified. The world moves quickly, and the advancement of the Internet and social media gives us instant results.
That can be good and bad. It’s good that we can get information instantly, but not so good if your employer reorganizes frequently and costs you a job.
This instantaneous world requires us to think about the future, because it has become so unpredictable. So, if you want to work until you want to retire, it may not happen. Expect your “retirement” to come sooner than you want, and expect that you probably won’t know when it’s coming.
That means that while you have a paycheck, put some of it away where you can’t touch it, and where you can watch it grow. It will help cushion that unexpected retirement.
Steinberg also advises to give yourself rewards. When you accomplish a goal, treat yourself. He quotes an example of hungry students. One group was given cookies and candy, the other radishes. They were asked to solve unsolvable anagrams. The ones who ate the sweets were better able to stay on task, since chocolate is more fun to eat than radishes.
Of course, part of having willpower is frequently avoiding sweet treats. But if you do something good, it’s OK to celebrate, briefly.
Finally, Steinberg says self-control is a mind-set. He quotes a study of students at final exam time. He says the students who believed their willpower was limitless did better than those who believed the opposite.
In sum, those of us with futuristic thoughts, who give ourselves periodic rewards for doing good and who put our minds to it will have good willpower.
If you are having trouble coming up with a Plan B, in case your Plan A fails you in the future, visit Perhaps if you see the good in there, your thoughts of the future will turn to dreams.
So celebrate appropriately. Learn to believe that waiting for something good is not only possible, but desirable.
Know where you want to be, and perhaps what you want to be doing 10, 15 or 20 years hence. Then, work toward that end. You may hit some bumps along the way, but your strong mind can guide you toward your own solutions.
Have the will. Find the way. Don’t be easily tempted to stray. The journey often is more fun than the destination. Press on with care and patience.


#marshmallowtest #willpower #achievegoals
Would you pass “The Marshmallow Test?”
In his book, “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control,” Walter Mischel describes decades of research related to willpower.
Gregg Steinberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee and author of “Full Throttle,” discussed Mischel’s research in a column in The Tennessean Newspaper in Nashville Feb. 15, 2015.
The Marshmallow Test involves 4-year-olds. They sit at a table, each with a marshmallow in front of them. The adults leave the room for upwards of 20 minutes. The children are told, as the adults are leaving, that they will get another marshmallow if they stay in their seats, and refrain from eating the marshmallow in front of them. The children also had the option of ringing a bell on the table, after which the experimenters would return and the children could eat their marshmallows.
How would you do?
You can go to and check out a few videos of this process, Steinberg wrote.
Steinberg writes that the researchers discovered that the more seconds the child waited before ringing the bell, the higher they rated on social and cognitive functioning when they were retested decades later, Steinberg writes.
The study found that those children who waited longest to eat their treat had higher SAT scores, lower body mass index a better sense of self-worth, pursued their goals more effectively and dealt better with stress, Steinberg writes.
As adults, some of us hate marshmallows and could sit there for hours without touching it, or ringing the bell. In the meantime, we could amuse ourselves checking e-mail on our phones, texting our friends etc.
So, we could pass the literal marshmallow test with flying colors.
We might even be able to pass the test if the marshmallow were substituted for something we love, be it chocolate, steak, etc.
We might even tell ourselves that as adults, we have far more patience than a child.
But let’s take it a step further. What goal do you have sitting in front of you that you’d love to achieve, but may find difficult to achieve?
Is it making lots of money, or having a secure retirement? Is it moving up the ladder in your company, or even just surviving in your company for as long as you want to?
Do you want your goal badly enough to do what you know you need to do to achieve it? Do you have what it takes to deal with the inevitable pitfalls that will come your way, yet not stray from your mission to achieve that goal?
If so, consider yourself passing The Marshmallow Test. Should you find yourself short of tactics to help you achieve your goal, visit You’ll see one of the many ways to achieve goals that your current circumstances may not help you achieve.
Life, like marshmallows, can be a bit squishy. But goals, and the willpower to achieve them, keep you firm. Stay firm. Step over life’s squishiness. Stay patient. Achieve your goals. They are there for those who wait, and work smartly.


#change #gettingunstuck #changehappensquickly
A few decades ago, change came slowly to the world.
It evolved over time. Chances are, people could ride out the evolution without having to worry much about the change when it came. They believed they would be long gone from it.
Today, change happens quickly. Just when you think you will be set for life – or for at least as long as you want to be – boom! Your very secure job is gone! Life as you knew it will never be again.
But with frequent and sudden change comes opportunity, as well as hardship.
George and Sedena Cappannelli discuss all of this in their book, “Getting Unstuck: 10 Simple Secrets to Embracing Change and Celebrating Your Life.”
The authors talk about how many of us were taught by our parents to look for security, to gravitate to what was “safe,” and to pay little or no attention to those who would encourage us to take risks.
You see, our parents lived in a world in which change evolved slowly. The tried and true was constant. You earned a living, instead of fulfilling your dreams.
Today, change is frequent and quick. One must adapt constantly. It’s more challenging for us, yet we have more opportunity to fulfill our dreams, rather than to just make a living.
How do we fulfill our dreams when our supposed security blanket is pulled from underneath us?
First, we need to presume that there is no such thing as a security blanket. We can’t, for example, look at a job, or even a career, as something long-lasting. We live in a world now in which change is so constant, tomorrow there could be a new way to do what you do.
So, learn skills and get experience. Keep thinking of new ways to use your skills, whether in a particular job, or on your own. Remember, always, that the day will come – and you don’t know when – in which you could be literally on your own. When that comes, it won’t matter how good you were at your job, or how valuable you believed you were to your company.
The Cappannellis also talk about how security blankets inhibit dreams. Did your (pick one: parents, teachers, preachers) ever tell you to stop dreaming and get real? Well, you got “real” and suddenly, you’re alone. Reality has slapped you in the face. With that lesson learned, go ahead and dream again.
How do you make dreams come true when, you believe, you have lost your method of making a living? There are many ways out there not only to dream, but to make dreams come true. For one of the best, visit You’ll see how other people, just like you and your friends, got real, got slapped and made their dreams come true.
OK, perhaps you have no reason to throw away what you have. Great. Keep it. Just don’t presume it will never go away, or that you can have it for as long as you want it.
When you are not doing your “real” thing, what are you thinking about? If you think about a life in paradise, or a life of service – free from the need to make a living – it’s OK to dream. You can get that life. Just have your Plan B in place so that when reality slaps, you can smile.


#investors #publicprivate #impactinvesting
Who will solve the great problems of the nation and the world?
Will it be governments or private citizens?
Or, will it be a little of both?
It was thought that private citizens would never solve anything unless they can make money – gobs of money.
Governments, on the other hand, don’t have any money, but spend it anyway, sometimes futilely.
New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed the new concept of “impact investing.” That is private money going into investments that attack some of the world’s problems. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published his column Feb. 3, 2015.
Brooks says that the private market, prone to devastating crashes and producing widening inequality, combined with gridlocked, ineffective government aren’t getting the job done.
So a group of smart people with opposable minds – part profit-oriented and part purpose-oriented – have created organizations that look a little like businesses, a little like social-service providers and a little like charities – or some mixture of the three, Brooks writes.
They are creating new impact funds, social stock exchanges and include players like Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. The first wave of this sector was led by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Now you have an array of capitalist tools ranging from B Corporations like Warby Parker, which gives free glasses to the poor, to social impact bonds. Brooks writes. He quotes at 2010 report by the Rockefeller Foundation and JPMorgan that says impact investing capital could amount to $1 trillion by 2020.
So what’s happening here? Did government failures in helping its people make wealthy people feel guilty – guilty enough to accept a potentially lower profit to help lots of people?
Capitalism is a marvelous institution that has gotten a bad rap. People are beginning to realize that it’s not how rich you become that matters, but how you become rich. Did you do well by doing good? Were you helping others succeed as you were succeeding? Once you’ve achieved success, did you hoard all your gains, or did you use them to help those worthy of your help?
It’s clear not everyone is going to get rich. But there are many vehicles out there that allow ANYONE to get rich. For one of the best, visit Check out a model in which success only comes by helping others succeed.
Think back to the days when you were young, and just starting out in the workforce. You probably had an entry-level job for, say, a small business. When the time came for you to move on to other things to better your life, how did your boss treat you when you left? Was he wishing you well, telling you he was proud to have you work for him and offer any lifelong assistance (not necessarily financial) that you might need? Or, was he the type that was upset that you were quitting and leaving him short-staffed? The former likely was a pleasure to work for, because he looked out for you, and you, in turn, made sure you did your best for him. The latter likely had employees who were indifferent toward the boss, didn’t care whether his business succeeded and probably worked under a good deal of stress.
If you become a boss, which kind would you like to be? If you become an investor, which kind would you like to be? People who work hard on being better people tend to have success follow them. Those who don’t, and still achieve success, probably have lots of current and former employees, who got relatively little in return, to thank.


We are all being tracked.

Complete privacy is a thing of the past.

The best we can hope for is that we look good to the world.

Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, discussed this in a Dec. 21, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

“We have the means to measure, by some proxy, how we live up to our intentions and how we impact others,” O’Neill writes. “The strategy we set today provides the framework for improvement tomorrow,” she says.

Our life trail will certainly show imperfections. It will show what we did right, what we did wrong. The question becomes: did we do better today than yesterday, and will we do even better tomorrow?

It’s one thing for a person to succeed. But did he help others succeed in the process, or did he succeed because he took advantage of others?

Sophisticated devices, social media and other modern conveniences leave us more exposed than ever. We leave trails of data everywhere. We use the Internet to find jobs or customers, who can learn so much about us in a very short time.

It’s all good, right? For those who wish to remain as private as possible, it’s not necessarily good. For those who wish to conceal some things about them, it’s not so good. But most of us want to be out there, for everyone to see. We want to be able to communicate with others easily, even if we can’t meet face to face.

Of course, personal contact and face-to-face meetings are far superior to other communication forms. After all, we can’t read people online. Personal interactions are much more fun than our impersonal ones.

So what do you look like to the world? What mark are you leaving for all to see? Are you helping others?

We must be careful as we look at others not to judge quickly. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently, his high school friend in Oregon who died at 54 could look, at first glance, like a typical moocher. But Kristof, and those who knew him well, knew him as a hard worker, who just got down on his luck. Kristof called him a victim of economic inequality.

There are many ways those of us who might be down on our luck economically to recover, without asking for a handout. For one of the best, visit Success could be there for the taking if you are sufficiently motivated.

Paul Anka’s lyric in “My Way,” made famous by Frank Sinatra, says, “The record shows, I took the blows, and did it my way.” If “your way,” is to help others, may you take the blows deftly, without injury. Success likely will grace you. If “your way” is to do all for yourself, and little for others, may the record show improvement today, and even more tomorrow.