Do you know the marshmallow test?
The original “marshmallow test” was conducted by Stanford psychology professor Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The test was meant to measure which children could delay gratification. Follow-up studies showed that children who could postpone eating a marshmallow at age 4 outpaced their peers in many areas when they were 18 years old. But what became also clear: 2/3 of all children tested could not resist and ate the marshmallow quite soon although they knew that if they had resisted they had gained a second marshmallow…
Also experts and scientist who do studies on the world’s future know about this human behavior, the huge need to get the best out of it – now.
From an emotional point of view short term success is mostly higher rated than reaching mid- and long term goals. What counts often is the presence, what is visible and touchable now – although we know that if we change things today we will be able to create better circumstances for the future life and next generations.
Also business is often short-term oriented: the quarterly numbers, the annual growth, reaching the goals in 2014 are relevant, being able to show results in the presence. Fantastic, if this has positive consequences in the future … But not looking for an immediate ‘touchable’ success today, just for an eventual bigger success in the future? That’s critical.
And the learning?
I think that every social impact you are going to create, how convinced you are that certain measures are needed now for getting a better world tomorrow, do not forget to be able to demonstrate some immediate positive results and benefits right now. Whether you need funds or start your business… The early visible success should not be underestimated.