Human beings have a desire to succeed. At the same time, they are easily swayed by the temptations they see in front of them. This article introduces, through the book Marshmallow Story, why people should be patient to resist the temptation of immediate rewards and temporary satisfaction. It also explains that it is not our innate talents but personal efforts that determine the success and failure of our life.
The main characters of the book Marshmallow Story are Jonathan, a billionaire who participated in the “marshmallow experiment” in his childhood, and his driver Arthur. Arthur begins to open his eyes to a new life after hearing to the story of the marshmallow experiment from Jonathan. The marshmallow experiment was held 40 years ago at Stanford University, where researchers gave a marshmallow to individual children and then left them in a room. The researchers told the children that they could eat the marshmallows right away, but if they could be patient without eating the marshmallow for fifteen minutes, they would get a reward. Some children ate the marshmallows as soon as they received the marshmallow, and some endured for fifteen minutes to receive a reward. Fourteen years later, the researchers went back to the children who had participated in the experiment, and they found out that the children who had waited for fifteen minutes were more successful than the children who had eaten their marshmallows right away.
In Marshmallow Story, there are a few episodes explaining that the patience to endure temptations for later rewards rather than immediate temporary satisfaction is important. The first episode starts with Jonathan saying, “you’re eating your marshmallow again,” to Arthur who is eating a hamburger. Arthur does not understand what he means at first. Jonathan reminds Arthur that in the morning he said to Arthur that his colleague was going to treat him with nice paella for lunch. Only then, Arthur realizes that half an hour before having the best paella, he was eating a hamburger, spoiling his appetite. He could not help but regretting that he had plunged into a temporary satisfaction instead of being patient for what he actually really wanted.
In another similar episode, Jonathan asks Arthur about his childhood, specifically about the car he drove in high school. Arthur answers he bought a pink Corvette convertible to be popular with girls. He spent his birthday party budget to buy the car, and he had to find a job to cover the loans and insurance fees. He also says that he was always broke because he had to work part-time to meet his girlfriends. In contrast, Jonathan had a 10-year-old car which was the cheapest car that he could afford in high school. He didn’t meet girls like Arthur, but saved money instead to go to college. As a reward for “not eating his marshmallow” in high school, he gained a huge marshmallow of becoming a billionaire after 20 years. Both Arthur’s hamburger and pink Corvette convertible were immediate rewards for temporary satisfaction. Whether to resist the temptation of immediate rewards or not is the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful.
In Marshmallow Story, Jonathan’s ultimate message is that only the ones who have tolerated the temptation of rewards before their eyes can have a glorious future. Before making any decision, ask yourselves one more time, “how about waiting for the perfect time to pick up more marshmallows instead of eating one marshmallow right away?” I hope many readers find the right time for their own sweet marshmallow and live a prosperous life.
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