February is release month for my debut in North America & United Kingdom. My incredulity that this day has *finally* come has made me reflect on my intolerance of delayed gratification. I’m TERRIBLE at waiting. Not that I fight it or make a scene or do inappropriate things about having to wait but I pine horribly for the thing that I can’t have immediately.
I know…I’m sure it’s character building to wait. Patience, apparently, is a virtue. Go figure!
I was a good pocket-money saver as a kid and I didn’t get everything I wanted handed to me on a plate. I’m a good financial budgeter now. So I don’t know where this urge to have things *now* comes from. It’s more than just excitement or eagerness to have my book on a shelf. Part of me is just plain efficient and waiting is simply not efficient.
Someone did a study in the US years ago with children and marshmallows to see if there was any correlation between kids that ate an unsupervised marshmallow (knowing there’d be no more if they did) and their success or otherwise in life. They compared them to kids who didn’t eat the marshmallow having been promised more if they waited. It’s a kind of reverse bird-in-hand science and it doesn’t take a genius to anticipate the outcome.
Sure enough, the kids who took the mallow largely went on to struggle financially in life. They made poorer decisions, married badly and generally weren’t successful. By contrast, the kids that sat and stared at that marshmallow and waited patiently for the payoff of a whole bag of fresh ones (the two-in-the-bush kids) went on almost unanimously to be successful in life. Highly successful.
Delaying gratification, therefore, seems directly linked to long-term success but it flies in the face of the in-hand/in-the-bush wisdom. What to do??? And so, while I’ve smiled stiffly and drummed my metaphorical fingers waiting for this exciting day to come, I can rest assured that enduring the wait will, statistically, lead to success.
What about you? Are you a bird-in-hand kind of marshmallow eater or an invest-in-the-future marshmallow leaver kind of person? Or doesn’t it matter as long as there’s marshmallow at some point?Do you skip straight to the last chapter of books you read (or worse, write!) or is the journey what you’re interested in?