Eating the marshmellow

2009 May 27
marshmellow
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License by  Sarah Marafi (мυƒƒιησσн™)

I just read a very interesting article in the New Yorker about research on people’s ability to deter satisfaction, and how it could be a character treat determined very early. The researchers performed an experiment where children were given the choice of eating a marshmellow now, or wait fifteen minutes, waiting in front of the marshmellows, and get two marshmellows. Some kids were able to find ways of distracting themselves, earning the extra marshmellow in the end. Others just couldn’t wait and had it right there and then.

This experiment was performed quite some time ago, and the researchers are now performing new experiments with the same subjects, now grown-ups, and find correlation with their success in life. Career-wise, that is.

It all corresponds nicely with microeconomic theory: Delay some consumption and invest, in order to get something more to consume later. The right thing to do. Rational and wise.

But to some of us, waiting was never the problem. The problem is living right here and now. Seizing the day. And some of us learn about that through tango. Tango, or more precisely going to the milongas, is about eating the marshmellow. Savouring the moment.

And some times, the right thing is to eat the marshmellow.

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