Monday, October 17, 2011

Are you failing the marshmallow experiment?

How often have you made a decision based on seeking immediate gratification? It may not have looked like that at the time. In the moment, that decision may have seemed expedient, served to release anxiety, or even resolved (albeit temporarily) some emotional need you were feeling pressed by. In retrospect, in reviewing the action or decision made - one prompted largely by the impulse to alleviate stress or modify discomfort -  did that decision or action work out for you in the end? If not ... you may be failing the "marshmallow experiment." I, for one, am learning to save my marshmallow and - in the meantime - have it under lock and (thrown away the) key! You? Read on...

The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a study on deferred gratification. Conducted in 1972 by psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University,[1]the experiment has been repeated many times since. The original study at Stanford has been "regarded as one of the most successful behavioural experiments".[2] In the study, a marshmallow was offered to each child. If the child could resist eating the marshmallow, he was promised two instead of one. The scientists analyzed how long each child resisted the temptation of eating the marshmallow, and whether or not doing so had an effect on their future success.[3] The results provided researchers with great insight on the psychology of self control.  -- Wikipedia  

Read marshmallow experiment to learn what this experiment predicted and the outcome ...

Saturday, October 01, 2011

"I've arrived..."

That's what my dad told me this morning after a leisurely Skype call I placed from my iPhone (great app that Skype!) to Israel - Netanya to be exact, where he lives. To be sure, I have a few woes. My 80 years young mother has cancer - again. My younger sister was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer - doesn't smoke. I can't shake a cold after 10 days made worse hanging out in the emergency room when my mom was rushed 911 style to ER yesterday due to a seizure caused by a mixture of coumadin and an over-the-counter sinus congestion nasal inhaler. (She is stabilized and doing remarkable well.) Oh, and my dad is about to go in for a heart procedure. Please, allow me to stop there.

So I'm musing with my dad. "Despite all I have going on with my personal life, I feel good. I am happy. Most of all, I feel peaceful. How could that be?" Without skipping a beat, he says, "Sounds like you've arrived." And you know what? I got what he meant. I  reached my destination. Me. Surely, it's been a bumpy ride and I don't pretend that this arrival marks the end of the road; it simply validates the work, the process, the integrity in which I strive to live, albeit at times messily - the continuous search for authenticity - now realized. A sense of being at home with myself, living according to what matters to me, honestly, heartfully, gratefully.

Deep sigh.

Consider this a love letter to my dad. Thanks Dad. Happy New Year.