What is in Front of You?
In other words, someone who just had a bunch of cookies is MORE LIKELY to now eat a banana, particularly if SOMEONE ELSE IS IN THE ROOM, OR if there is a MIRROR on the coffee table or desk.
Other people do not need to have the cookies to get to the banana. They can go to the banana and still resist the handful of cookies.
People tend to do what other people in front of them are doing. If they are smoking, they are more likely to smoke. They are taking drugs, the individual is more likely to do so. Others are eating tons of food that will bring early onset of diabetes and the individual will do the same.
The importance of being aware of what others do in an environment and how it is changing your behavior is very important. If you chose the behavior rooted in your predetermined intentions and desired outcomes and now you are performing it, then you have used your power well. If you chose a behavior (to be a good mother for example) and then went with the flow of the party (spending the money you were going to use for groceries on something foolish), well you chipped away at yourself, those you love and your future.
In the famous psychological Marshmallow Tests of the 1960s and 1970s we learned that kids who were offered a marshmallow now or two in twenty minutes, those who delayed gratification did better at almost everything as an adult including dealing with difficult relationship problems. Follow up longitudinal research that almost no one had read about showed that little kids who participated in one study for a half hour and delayed gratification in that half hour were more going to score an AVERAGE 210 points higher on their SAT tests.
14 years later!
When my daughter was born, I decided to be a stay at home Dad. As most of you familiar with my stories of this period of my life know, I performed well externally and internally found out how difficult it was to be a Mom. It was the hardest thing I ever did in life. Thank god I could not give birth.
When my daughter was 3 we went to Target almost every day. (Being with kids this age can make for a very, very, very long day. Try it sometime.)
I had to teach her the difference between looking and buying, and it was no easy thing. I told her we would buy something one day out of every ten days we went to Target. And that is precisely what we did.
She was not thrilled with her Dad telling her this over and over again, yet, of course, today she is now yet another …Dr. Hogan.
I believe, but could not prove in a million years, that those early days of delayed gratification for her, helped her become a better student and more helpful around the house than most kids.
Today I cannot go back and reprogram my kids or myself to have a dramatically better life tomorrow morning. We are all the result of our previous programming.
BUT you can reprogram yourself TODAY in order to lay the ground work for habits to form that will make the rest of life better in many respects.
So now that we know delayed gratification is an important component of power, how does one grow this skill?