Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

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38 thoughts on “You Don’t Always Get What You Want

  1. free penny press on said:

    The things I think I want are rarely what is best for me.. Odd how that works.. But on things I want and KNOW are good for me, I’ll wait, and wait until..:-)

  2. oh man, that is awesome. I’ll be conducting the marshmallow test on my kids! Thanks for presenting the research result.

    • Best wishes with the kids…I’m glad I’m to old for the test…I’m sure I would have devoured the marshmallow before the researcher got out of the room. 🙂

      Be encouraged!

      • lol, I was thinking the same thing. I would definitely eat it immediately, too!

      • Chris, I knew you were a soul mate…lol.

        Strasser holding on to 2nd place in RAAM…he has got to put the hammer down…there is only 100 miles to go and he is about 30 minutes behind…of course after pedaling for 8 straight days with less than 4 hours of sleep, putting the “hammer down” may be impossible…I would have opted out after the first day.

        Be encouraged!

      • lol, no, I think i know you enough to know that you probably would “dig deep and find something special” (per Phil Liggett) and put the hammer down!
        Knowing how difficult it is, for mere mortal rider, to hold 16-17mph for about 30mile distance, its just sick knowing he can hold that for that kind of distance with virtually no rest…these guys are amazing!

      • That “something special” might be a pool of my own vomit as I curled into the fetal position…gee Chris I really hope you are not getting ready for dinner.

        Susie and I have established a fairly decent relationship with Strasser and his team (e.g., they call us when they get near and then we have the entire team over for showers and home cooked food) so we have our fingers crossed…it would be awesome to see him win two years in a row…and he is a super nice guy.

        But Reto Schoch is riding like a man possessed…he is really nice also and we spent some quality time talking with his team as they came through…they were all just flabbergasted to be in the lead so late in the race.

        Some of my friends and I have talked about doing some year as a four man team…maybe you would like to join us?…you could tell your wife it is a honeymoon…kill two birds with one stone…whaddya think?

        Be encouraged!

  3. Patience seems to have disappeared as we don’t really have to much to wait anymore! With overnight delivery, ready-made foods, microwaves, Internet access, call waiting (I could go on and on!) we have been re-programmed to not have the ability to wait 🙂

    • Lynne I was amazed recently when a film director friend of mine said he never holds a particular shot on screen for longer than 3 seconds…if he does the audience perceives the film as “slow.”

      Be encouraged!

  4. Especially in this day and age of instant gratification, promoting / revisiting this idea is superb. I wonder if I can do the same thing with FOOD? Ah….

    Wonderful subject. Maybe readers will take a step back and begin a new crusade. We need it. The kids need it.

  5. Dave on said:

    I’m A Cubs fan, and I’m patient. I am even, encouraged!

    A Cubs fan, patient, encouraged, and have no idea, why.

  6. I was actually just discussing this topic a few days ago with a friend. Our philosophy is that in order to be happy, one should never be completely satisfied and obtain *everything* they want. If you don’t have everything you want, then you always have a goal, but once you obtain every goal, it’s kind of like, well what do I do now? For instance, if there’s a dream car that you’ve always wanted and to have it is your number one goal. You should never buy it, even if you had the money, because then your dream would be fulfilled and you would have nothing else to work for.

    He told me he read a study (I totally don’t remember what it was now) that a lot of people get depressed because they have achieved what they want and feel like they had nothing else to do with their lives anymore. I use to wonder why really rich people who can get anything they want are often really unhappy, now I think I kind of understand why. It’s quite an interesting concept.

    • It is a very interesting concept and I have often pondered the same thing. The study of what motivates and why is something I have been delving into for several years now. The human mind is a fascinating subject and I continue to marvel everyday at how it works.

      I’m going to do some research and see if I can determine what the study is your friend was referencing. If and when I find it, I’ll shoot you an email.

      I have greatly enjoyed your well thought out comments…please keep writing…I have enjoyed it immensely.

      Be encouraged!

  7. Stephen If we always got what we wanted now, we would have nothing to aspire to.
    It is something we must teach our children because it builds character, and will get them ready for much bigger things to come later in their lives.
    I do not like what is going on these days with “every kid makes the team” because life does not, has not, and never will work like that, our kids are being set up for failure because they will think no matter how good or bad they are, they will get that job, get that raise or promotion with little or no effort. So a little disappointment now by not making the team will save our kids a lot of heartache as adults.

  8. Sure, we don’t always get what we want but it shouldn’t stop us from being expectant… I like the vulture’s response. 😆

  9. Love the post. You are definitely right there!

  10. Great post! 🙂 It is so easy to become impatient, especially in this quick fix world. I am a believer that something worthwhile is worth waiting for. Had to laugh about Chris9911 testing their kids. I will also be trying it on my girls hahaha

  11. Yes Stephen. Yes. If I could only pause or delay, 30 seconds, I believe I would land in a better place. Great post!

  12. Thank you for the likes/support on my posts.
    “Be encouraged.” I sure am… 🙂

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  14. WordsFallFromMyEyes on said:

    I love the ‘patience, my ass, I’m gonna kill something’ 🙂

    I love it when you bring in psychological studies. This about delayed gratification, so reminds me of a particular instance when my son Daniel was infant. We alone together at Easter, were at a park beside the ocean. Daniel played with extreme excitement at being amongst other kids. A father, whose son Daniel had played with, approached me gently to say he thought Daniel may have ADHD. It had never crossed my mind – sure, he was high spirited & energetic… but so was his mum! He was just so excited out there, that day, amongst others.

    This man had a wife at home who was a primary school teacher & he told me they didn’t live far, & if I wanted to come by, maybe she could make a casual assessment from our visit. So I went – what else to do when you know no-one at Easter & everyone’s with family?

    On the visit, we stayed in the lounge, where we could overhear the couple’s two kids banging & fighting about something. One of them came in & showed off his toy to Daniel. As it was outreached to Daniel, he took it, but the boy grabbed it back, saying it was HIS!! The mum scolded his lack of manners, we lengthened the visit to a cup of tea, & after a chat etc, & with all the little side things that happened – & Daniel didn’t wander out to the kids’ rooms when I told him to stay in the lounge, etc (so the kids brought their things in etc) – the wife turned to her husband & bluntly said why the f*k did he give me the idea Daniel had ADHD. He spluttered I can’t remember what, but thought he was helping ‘a single mother’ & it ended with them walking Daniel & me down the driveway. Indoors, the woman had fished out a nice bright Easter egg (Daniel was toddler, but still in the pram for long walks) & gave it to Daniel, who took it with two hands and wide eyes. He began to unwrap it & I said, “Oh no, Daniel, you can have that after we get home, after we have some lunch first.” Daniel stopped unwrapping it, looked up at me, I said, “Please” & that was settled. I CAN NEVER FORGET THE LOOK THE WIFE GAVE HER HUSBAND AT THAT MOMENT!!!!!

    I was so sucked in that there could be something wrong with my boy I didn’t realise because I’m dumb to raising kids, that I followed this man into his home, had conversation with his wife, & without me even asking if Daniel could possibly have ADHD, she was irritated with her husband for his presumption.

    This you wrote SOOOO reminded me of that day, clear as.

    Now in afterthought & having read this, yes, not that Daniel is a star at school, but he certainly has determination & focus & sharpened spirit & endurance for his martial arts & the goal he sees in his head.

    So thank you enormously Stephen, for this one… N’n.

    • You are always so kind and gracious to me…thank you so very much. From the first time I read your blog I have been deeply rooting for you and Daniel. I so want the two of you to succeed, be happy, live life to it’s fullest, find true love, and be all the things you dream about. Really can’t explain it exactly…especially since we have never met and probably never will, but the desire for the two of you to get all there is out of life is outrageously strong. I am always showing your blog and comments to my wife Susie, so the two of us are really pulling for you all by prayers and consistent powerful energies.

      Thanks again for sharing this story and all the rest…you are the second best woman I know…hahaha!

      Be encouraged!

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes on said:

        Oh, Stephen, thank you to you and your wife Susie – most PARTICULARLY as we have never actually met. Man, the world is so different these days…

  15. George Hayward on said:

    A little bit of temporary sacrifice and compromise is worth the big prize at the end. Nice post, well written.

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