This very cool video is of a famous test designed to measure how well kids deal with temptation and their ability to delay gratification. The kids are left alone in a room and are given one marshmallow. They are told that they can eat the marshmallow whenever they want, but if they wait until the adult returns, they will get two marshmallows. Believe it or not, it’s pretty hard for most kids.
Ultimately, some studies suggest that the better someone does on this test as a child, the more likely they are going to be successful as adults (wealth, happiness, health, etc.). The kids who are the most successful (last the longest without eating the marshmallow) use strategies, such as looking away from the marshmallow or singing a song or something distracting. Those that are the least successful tend to look directly at the marshmallow or put it in their mouths or smell it. Basically I think the video is fascinating to watch, and pretty funny, too.
The concept of delayed gratification is fundamental to what we do as musicians…it’s what gets you into the practice room, even on those days when you really don’t want to be there. What strategies do you use to help get you into the practice room, even when you don’t want to? What strategies do you use to keep you there, and keep you working productively?