The Power of Delayed Gratification

The Marshmallow Study conducted in 1972 showed us the importance of delayed gratification as it relates to success. To learn about the details of the study click here. Delayed gratification is defined as the ability to put off a current desire in order to gain something else in the future. Without a doubt, delayed Gratification is something that tests our ability to make a short term sacrifice for a long-term gain. As a leader in the classroom, you will have to help your students understand the importance of this concept. Clearly, students will constantly be tested in the area of delayed gratification. Here’s a few of examples of these tests:

  1. Pay attention in class or Pay attention to other distractions
  2. Study or spend time on Social Media
  3. Visit a teacher during study time or spend the time poorly


The bottom line is that students have to be reminded of their WHY. Their individual Vision of Success (VOS) should  help them make this short term sacrifice to embrace delayed gratification. But as time goes on, students may lose sight of that Vision of Success. Furthermore, bringing their VOS to the front of their mind is a great way to cause students to reflect on their actions and what they need to do to pursue excellence. Make time to visit with students and talk with them about their goals and dreams. Encourage them to write these things down to serve as a reminder. Lastly, watch the video below to get another idea on how to frame this conversation with students.


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**For some quick and easy PD in this area, check out Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth.

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