Don’t Eat The Marshmallows Until Later…

English: Marshmallows

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This year has been incredibly busy. Next year looks set to be even busier – in my life certainly.

As we all seemingly accelerate toward the adoption of more toys, more technology, with more speed and more connectivity, I find myself seeing more clearly what is happening on another plane, and find that many of the people I meet and talk to are being blindsided by the enormous focus required from them to execute on the tasks that they have in front of them.

I believe that we all are unconsciously moving to a place where instant gratification is expected, required, and if not delivered, is a primary cause of our frustration and sense of personal failure.

It is one of the primary causes for the failure of some start up businesses, where the planning process is less important than the get to market. While I believe that getting to market is imperative and needs to take place in order to better understand market forces, I also believe that the information gleaned on the way needs to be incorporated into the plan with the plan morphing all the while in order to build a better engagement. Businesses who don’t plan for change from the outset are doomed to failure.  And societies that are obsessed with instant gratification are bound to become frustrated by the inability to be satisfied and will ultimately fail too! (One of the people whose academic work in this field is really fascinating is Walter Mischel, who did the famous Marshmallow Test on children. If you haven’t read about it, I urge you to. It is actually much more important now for society, I believe, than the work that Stanley Milgram did).

I now believe that by developing a personal discipline of deferment of gratification I am able to take much more control of my life. By changing gear from need to desire, kind of like putting an item into the Amazon shopping basket for later on, the whole dynamic of financial and personal control is shifted. People who are driven by needs are frankly no different to junkies looking for their next hit. And most consumers who have Pavlovian responses to the calls for action that they are exposed to are no different.

Your new year’s resolution: Take control of the purchase decision by deferring it by a week or a  month. See how much your life can change.


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