The Secret Ingredient to a Happy Retirement: Patience

Many great discoveries come about by accident, like the discovery of the anti-malarial drug quinine, the smallpox vaccination, X-rays and insulin.

Here’s a discovery that relates to retirement: the unexpected importance of marshmallows in explaining the difficulty of delaying gratification. A famous Stanford study by Walter Mischel, which took place in the late 60s and early 70s, involved offering young children a selection of tasty treats, including marshmallows, cookies and pretzels. When they selected one, they were told they could eat one immediately, or two if they waited a short period while the researcher left the room and then returned. They were given the option to summon the researcher immediately by ringing a bell, but if they did so, they would get only one treat instead of two. These experiments were conducted over several years.

Only about 30 percent of the children were able to delay gratification until the researcher returned 15 minutes later.

Read the rest of the article at US News.