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The Marshmallow Test

The Marshmallow Experiment was conducted in the 1960s by Walther Mischel at Stanford University. It was popularized by Daniel Goleman, perhaps best known for his books Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence.

The test
The researchers gathered a group of four-year olds in a room. A researcher set a marshmallow in front of each kid. The kids were told that the researcher needed to run an errand. If the kid didn’t eat the marshmallow before the researcher got back, the kid would be given a second marshmallow. However, if the kid ate the marshmallow, he or she would not get another one.

Picture yourself at four-years old.
Could you have resisted that tasty marshmallow?

Some ate their marshmallow before the researcher even got out of the room! Others seem to have no problem not resisting the temptation. Some turned their back on the marshmallow. Others sang a song or distracted themselves in other ways. One kid reportedly even licked the table around the marshmallow!

The reward for waiting was pretty good – a 100 percent increase in marshmallows! Interestingly enough, ALL the kids expected a second marshmallow – even the kids who ate theirs!

The follow-up
The researchers tracked these kids in the subsequent years. They surveyed their parents and their teachers. They found that, in general, the kids who had been able to resist the marshmallows were better adjusted and more dependable.

They were more competent socially and more self-assertive. They were able to cope with frustration and stress much better. They embraced challenges rather than seeing them as a huge obstacle. They also scored 210 points higher on their SAT exams.

So what’s your marshmallow?
We’ve all heard about rock-n-rollers who came to fame and fortune early. They make a lot of money; then blow it all. They think it will always be there.

Some time later, we hear they’re out touring again, because they’re out of money. They have to start over because they don’t have any marshmallows left. Obviously we’re stereotyping rock-n-rollers … they haven’t all fallen into this trap.

Here’s the ironic thing — by resisting that treat now, you can have more later! Here are some thoughts to help you get the most marshmallows.

#1 – Keep your eye on the final prize.
Focus on what you ultimately want, not your marshmallows. What’s your dream life? Keep that in front of you. You’ll resist the marshmallows now so you get more later.

#2 – Find techniques that work for you.
Just like with the kids, we each need to find what works best for us. For example, you may find that paying yourself first helps you resist your marshmallows. Many people have found that as long as they don’t see the money, they don’t miss it.

Other people won’t buy anything unless they have the cash to pay for it. This simple requirement helps them resist many marshmallows.

Mary-Lynn shared her technique – she focuses on her needs, rather than her wants. She’s ready for a new smart phone. She wants an iPhone, but she’ll get a phone that’s a couple of hundred dollars less. It suits her needs just fine.

 

How do you resist the marshmallows in your life? Leave us a comment.

#3 – Reward yourself when you reach a desired goal.
A couple of days ago, we talked about The Stairway To Success. We discussed the steps that will get you to the top of your stairway. When you reach a desired goal – reward yourself.

Don’t overdo it – you do want to enjoy a marshmallow now and then … just don’t get so full that you can’t make it up the stairs!

 

Get our FREE Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook.

It’s a great tool to help you set your marshmallow marks – those points where you give yourself a treat! Just sign up for the Bigg Success Weekly newsletter – It’s FREE, too!

Our Bigg Quote today is by the great Brian Tracy:

“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification
in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the
long term is the indispensable pre-requisite for success.”

So plan your life and live your plan …. and go ahead, have a marshmallow now and then!

Next time, we’ll answer a question from one of our listeners who wants to know if he should count on his employer’s counter offer.

In the meantime, we’re off for a cup of hot chocolate … topped with marshmallows, of course! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Related Posts:

 Back To The Future: Visualize The Life You Want (Part 2)

The Stairway To Success

Climbing The Stairway To Success

Today, we’ll discuss how to reach your goals, step-by-step. We toyed with calling this blog the “Stairway to Heaven”, but we’re Bigg Success, not Bigg Heaven!

On the show, Mary-Lynn told an amusing story from her radio dj days about locking herself out of her building while “Stairway to Heaven” was playing. Listen to the show to hear it! Click on the play button above (just click the arrow), or, if you are viewing this in a reader, just click the mp3 button or link.

Picture this … you’re in a 100-story building. You’re at the bottom of a stairway, but you can see all the way to the top.

Can you jump to the top?
Superman could leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but that’s a cartoon!

Could you jump up even one flight of stairs?
Even Michael Jordan couldn’t do that, not even with a running start!

Could you take one step?
You can handle that!

Now how about a second?
Of course.

Your success is like this stairwell. You can’t jump to it – you get there step-by-step. Let’s look at three mistakes people make when setting their goals and then we’ll offer three tips to get to the top of your stairway to success.

3 mistakes people make when setting their goals

Mistake #1: Trying to jump to the top.
People want instant success. Get rich quick. It’s nearly impossible. Ask almost any successful person. They started at the bottom and worked their way up.

Mistake #2: More than one building.
You see people who climb a stairway in this building. Then they climb a stairway in another building. They climb a lot of stairs, but they never get past the second floor of any building!

Mistake #3: Never stopping to rest.
You need to refresh yourself – give yourself a little treat. Don’t be so eager to get to the top that you never reward yourself for the progress that you’ve made. If you don’t rest occasionally, you’ll wear yourself out.

3 tips to get to the top of your stairwell

Tip #1: Find your building and the stairway in it that leads to the top.
The building is your dream … your passion. The stairway is your action plan – all the steps it will take. You need long-term goals. That’s why it’s important to have one building and one stairway. Everything you’re doing should lead to the top.

Tip #2: Set medium-term and short-term goals.
Medium-term goals are represented by a flight of stairs. Short-term goals are each step.
By focusing on these achievable goals, you aren’t intimidated by the long-term goals. They keep you from giving up and going to another building, because you’re seeing progress toward your long-term goals.

Long-term goals give you direction. Medium-
and short-term goals show your progress.

Tip #3: Give yourself a treat.
You may or may not do this with each step, but you better do it with each flight of stairs! Enjoy your accomplishment! Give yourself a reward … something you really want …like an extra day off, a weekend away, or a cool new gadget.

So you’re climbing YOUR stairway to success … to YOUR bigg dream. That motivates you, BUT you also reward yourself for your progress. That keeps you motivated!

The Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook is a great tool to help you define your long-term goals. Step 2 is what we’re talking about here in this blog. The Workbook is FREE when you subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

Our Bigg Quote today is by Mabel Newcomber.

“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.”

So climb your stairway to success step-by-step to your bigg dream. What may seem impossible now …  becomes probable with every step you take.

How do you reward yourself when you achieve a goal? Share with us by leaving a comment.

Next time, we’ll discuss some recent research on customer trust and how you can capitalize on it. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

How Do You Define Success?

Happy New Year! As we think about the year ahead, we want to ask this question:

On December 31, how will you know if you’ve succeeded?

To help you with that, we developed The Bigg Goal-Setting Workbook For Bigg Goal-Getters Like You. We love short titles here at Bigg Success! The Workbook takes you through a six-step process:

Step 1 – State your goals.

Step 2 – Classify your goals.

Step 3 – Explain the importance of your goals.

Step 4 – Action items.

Step 5 – Goal statement.
From this Workbook, you’ll end up with a clearly-defined goal statement. A goal statement summarizes what your goal is, why you must achieve it, and the actions necessary to do so.

All in one, simple statement. Concise. Specific. Memorable.

Step 6 – Internalize your goals.
With that in hand, you’ll be able to internalize your goal. To get your goal into your subconscious mind. So it’s always with you. Always available. On-demand.

One way to do this is to read your goal statement when you get up in the morning. As you do this, day after day, your goal will be in your mind all day. 

Read it again when you go to bed. That way it will seep into your subconscious mind as you sleep.

Soon, you’ll be able to pull your goal statement out of your memory, on demand. So when you’re sitting in line at the drive-thru or when you’re working out, think about your goal.

Picture yourself taking the actions necessary to achieve it. Feel yourself actually achieving it. Great athletes do this; so should you.

Be consistent and persistent. You don’t have to be a hero. Just day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, work to achieve your goal.

Before long, you’ll be ready for another goal … because you’ve already accomplished this one!

The Bigg Goal-Setting Workbook For Bigg Goal-Getters Like You is full of great tips, inspiring quotes, and printable forms that you can use to set, and get, your goals. And it’s free!

All you need to do is sign up for our free newsletter, The Bigg Success Weekly. And when we say “weekly”, we mean it! We promise not to fill up your Inbox with a bunch of e-mails.

Each week, you’ll get some great articles, success stories, timeless principles, leading-edge applications, and links to help you succeed bigg!

So sign up for a free newsletter and get a free tool. A tool that you can use today! How’s that for a deal?

Our bigg quote today comes from Ellen Goodman.

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room,
drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the
rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

So look for your potential … define the success you want with your bigg goals this year. Because you’re a bigg goal-getter, too!

Next time, we’ll discuss the single most destructive thought you can have. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Don’t Just Make New Year’s Resolutions, Get Them

maple_leaf_foods_logo The New Year is approaching. Many of us are making resolutions. Make them … break them … don’t let this happen to you.

Resolve this year to be more than a goal-setter. Be a goal-getter. That’s why Bigg Success has the second “g” – it’s the place for goal-getters.

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There’s a great example of a goal-getter from history – Ben Franklin. He is one of our favorite historical figures here at Bigg Success. What a life he lived! He accomplished so much – inventor, author, politician, diplomat, and much, much more!

He also can teach us something about getting goals. As a young man, he wanted to be perfect. So he developed a list of thirteen virtues that he wished to acquire.

An interesting side note is that he found order to be the toughest virtue to obtain. It’s nice to know that even Ben struggled with organization!

At first he tried to acquire all thirteen virtues at once. He failed miserably. Here’s Ben, in his own words:

“While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason.”

Apparently, habits were as hard to break 200 years ago as they are now!

To combat this, he developed a system. Each week, he focused on one goal. He tracked them all, but he primarily concerned himself with just one.

He developed a single sheet of paper for each week. The days of the week were across the top. The thirteen virtues went down the left side. Then he recorded every instance where he failed to live up to his virtue. Each week, each day, he started with a clean slate. If you want to see it, we have a copy of Ben Franklin’s Virtuous System [PDF].

So what can you learn from Ben Franklin?

  • You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
  • After you’ve set your goals for the year, be sure to use a system that reports your results. You won’t always live up to your plans, but you can see the progress you’re making if you have a system like Ben’s.

  • Intention + Attention = Manifestation.
  • It starts with setting your goals. Then you have to keep your goals constantly in front of you. That’s one of the secrets to making sure you reach them.

  • Focus on one goal at a time.
  • If you try to reach all of your goals at once, you’re sure to fail. So focus on one, and then move on to the next one.

  • Don’t beat yourself up.
  • Ben Franklin started each day with a clean slate. If he didn’t live up to his expectations that day, he knew that tomorrow he would start with no blemishes. Day by day – that’s how you get your goals!

Our Bigg Quote is by none other than Ben Franklin himself:

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors,
and let every new year find you a better man.”

Resolve to make this year your best year ever.

Next time, with New Year’s Eve coming, we’ll give you a suggestion on how to put your cocktail napkin to good use. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

Putting The Thanks In Thanksgiving

In our last blog, we talked about ‘taters and asked the question: “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Today we’ll put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving. 

Be thankful for the benefits
Robert Emmons, a Psychology professor at the University of California Davis, did a study to determine if there are benefits in being grateful.

He divided the study’s participants into three groups:

  • Group 1 recorded that day’s most significant events
  • Group 2 recorded minor complaints and hassles of the day
  • Group 3 recorded things they were thankful for that day.

After ten weeks, Emmons found that Group 3 had more energy, viewed life more positively, and had fewer physical ailments when compared to the other two groups.

Sounds like we should all be thankful for this study, doesn’t it? Emmons didn’t stop there. He wanted to know if there were any long-term differences.  Here’s what he found:

Group 3 members were more likely to achieve their goals.

So if you’re grateful, you’ll be healthier and you’ll reach more of your goals!

Make giving thanks a habit
We all remember the old saying “Practice makes perfect.” So, if we practice complaining, we’ll get pretty good at it. So how do you stop complaining?

Be grateful for what you have; quit complaining about what you don’t. It’s really a matter of attention. We tend to give attention to bad things. Many people shine stadium lights on their problems, and flashlights on their blessings.

You should do the opposite – be thankful everyday for all that happens to you. We recently wrote an article about John Bramblitt. Here is a young man that lost his sight, but didn’t let it conquer him. He became a painter. In his adversity, he found his gift.

The most precious thing in the world
Just like John Bramblitt, your life is a gift. You and only you are the single most unique thing in the world. There is only one of you. Your genes and all of your experiences have come together to make you who you are.

Don’t you have a lot for which to be thankful? Being thankful on Thanksgiving is great. We challenge you to make it a part of your life everyday. It pays big dividends!

Our quote today is from over 2000 years ago. It’s by Cicero, the great philosopher.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Greatness begins with gratefulness. Make giving thanks a daily habit. We promise that you’ll thank yourself for it. 

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Do You Set Your Goals Too High?

By Bigg Success Staff
02-27-08 

Test yourself

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Your goals have to be high enough to get you excited, but low enough so you can reach them if you stretch. Finding that happy medium can be quite challenging.

Do you set your goals too high? We know a great way to find out – the Implausibly High Goals Test from LearnMyself.

It will take you less than 5 minutes to answer the 30 questions.

Before you go, we want to tell you more things about this test …

  • You will be required to enter a small amount of personal information upfront (user name, country, age, and sign). It’s a small price to pay.
  • After you’ve completed the test, but before you get the results, you’ll be asked to enter your e-mail. Just uncheck the box if you don’t want to provide it.

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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World’s Shortest Personality Test

Only You Can Prevent Burnout

By Bigg Success Staff
01-26-08

Work-Life Balance

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Physical discomforts get our attention. We quickly buy a new chair for our desk or get an ergonomically-designed keyboard. We may even go to our doctors for help.

So why don’t we approach mental “discomforts” the same way?

When we experience these symptoms, we tell ourselves that “we must be strong”, “we have to push on”, or something similar.

But these symptoms may be early signs of burnout. Burnout happens gradually as a result of prolonged, unresolved stress.

Smokey Bear says, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

It’s also true that only you can prevent burnout.

No one will do it for you. It’s up to you to recognize it and do something about it. Here are three things you can do:

# 1 – Don’t get caught in the “superman” or “superwoman” trap.
You have a set of expectations. Others have expectations of you. Are they realistic?

You need to have goals, but these goals have to be achievable. Otherwise, you’ll just get more and more frustrated with yourself.

Learn to say “no” to others when you know that you’ll have to do something superhuman to give them what they want. And by superhuman, we don’t mean “leaping tall buildings”.

We mean setting aside time that you don’t have. Taking on another project when your to-do list is already insane. NOT doing something that’s important to you in order to do something that’s important to them.

Accept the fact that you’re only human – it’s a good thing.

#2 – Get past the “buzz killers”.
Some people are all “take” and no “give”. They expect a lot from you, but when you need a friend, they’re no where to be found. Get past them – find some new friends! That’s easy to say, but no so easy to do. However, you’ll be richly rewarded for hanging out with the right crowd.

Places can be buzz killers, too. The most obvious one is where you work. If you’re being asked to do more and more with less and less, you may need to move on. Change the job or change jobs.

#3 – Find more “buzz builders”
One of the secrets to preventing burnout is to make sure you have plenty of enjoyable activities. Work should be one of those, as we just discussed. But you need more than that or you will burnout at some point.

There are many ways to build buzz in your life. Some examples are:

  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Volunteer for a cause in which you believe
  • Take a class
  • Get a hobby
  • Start a personal journal
  • Read great books

How about you … what builds you up?

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Are You Burned Out?

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(Image by Marcus Vegas, CC 2.0)

Are You Burned Out?

By Bigg Success Staff
01-25-08

Test Yourself
 

test_yourself_jpg

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It’s usually caused by unrelieved, prolonged stress.

It’s important to recognize the signs of burnout early because it’s difficult to fight once you’re in the middle of it. It’s much better to address it early so you can avoid it altogether.

The good people over at iVillage offer a quick test to see if you’re burned out. Just answer thirty very short questions, which will take you less than ten minutes, and you’ll know if you’re burned out. Check it out!

Just in case you need it, here are some bigg resources to help you avoid burnout:   

Learn to say “no”             

Set realistic goals      

Take time for yourself        

Consider a career change    

Shake things up   
           

Take up a hobby             

Be grateful                   

Give for a cause         

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

How To Get Rich

Bigg Success Staff
01-10-08 

Timeless Principles

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Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think & Grow Rich, describes the six steps to turn your “desires into gold.”

First:  Determine exactly how much money you want to accumulate.

Second: Determine exactly what you will do to get this money.

Third:  Establish the date by which you will do this.

Fourth:  Create a definite plan to accumulate this money.

Fifth:  Write out a clear, concise goal statement.

Sixth: Keep your goal statement at the top of your mind.

Want help writing your goal statement?
The Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook will guide you to your goals, step-by-step. You’ll end up with clear, concise goal statements and tips on how to keep them at the top of your mind. It’s FREE when you sign up for our Bigg Success Weekly newsletter It’s FREE, too!

Here’s an example:
Let’s say you want to retire in 30 years with $1 million. You find that you can expect to earn 8% per year by investing in an index mutual fund. Using your handy spreadsheet or financial calculator, you determine that you need to invest $667 each month.

Do you have $667 each month to invest? Before you answer “no,” read about The Richest Man in Babylon . Now, if the answer is still “no,” what can you do to get it? Can you cut spending somewhere? What can you do to pick up a few extra bucks?

Successful people do what unsuccessful people. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way!

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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How Do You Define Success

Is Your Star Shining Bright

Getting Aggressively Passive

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(Image by infomatique, CC 2.0)

Out With The Old, In With The New Year

By Bigg Success Staff
12-27-07

Life Changes

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It’s part of the cycle of life – one year winds down as another one revs up. It’s an exciting time of year. We get a fresh start. Another chance.

To make the most of the New Year, take some time now to reflect. That’s a common phrase with an uncommon challenge.

To reflect is to carefully consider. As the year nears completion, here are some things upon which you might reflect.

Reflect upon the past year
One definition of reflection is a careful reconsideration of past choices, actions, and events. Think about the past year. What decisions made the greatest impact on your life? What lessons can you take away from that?

Think about the people in your life. Your family. Old friends. New friends. Co-workers. What will you do next year to strengthen your relationships? How will you meet new people?

Think about the places in your life. Your work. Your home. Your community. What did you do to improve these places this year?

When were you happiest? How can you incorporate more moments like that this year? What made you sad? Was it something you could control? Is there a lesson to bring to the coming year?

Are you proud of what you accomplished this year? As you think about it, what was your greatest triumph? What lessons can you learn from that? What was your biggest disappointment? What did it teach you?

Are you a better person now than you were at the beginning of the year? If so, congratulations! Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back. If not, why not? What will you do next year to make sure that you grow?

Reflect upon the coming year
Another definition of reflection is an idea that results from careful consideration. What bigg ideas do you have? What are you doing about them?

What thoughts flow from the lessons you learned last year? What are you doing with your newfound knowledge?

What are your goals for this year? How will you track them to be sure you’re on track? How do these goals fit your long-term vision for yourself?

What will you do to feed your mind and your spirit? Besides checking out Bigg Success regularly, of course!

How do you plan to maintain balance in your life? What will you give to those you care about? How will you advance in your career? What will you do for an escape? When will you do that?

How will you define success on December 31 of next year? What will you do to make that happen? Answer that question, work your answer, and you’re sure to be a bigg success next year!

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(Image of fireworks by angela7dreams, CC 2.0)