Today’s question comes from Sarah. She asks:
“I know I need to prioritize my values on my journey to financial freedom. How can I make this possible when I have huge cases of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?”
You can have one marshmallow right now, or two later.
You see, in the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel conducted an experiment with hundreds of four- and five-year-olds.
Here’s what his team of researchers did.
They brought each kid into a private room, sat them down, and put one marshmallow on the table.
Then the researchers offered up a deal.
They said they were going to leave the room for a little bit (it was around 15 minutes), and if the kid didn’t eat the marshmallow while they were gone, they’d be rewarded with a second marshmallow.
The choice was simple: One marshmallow right now, or two later.
Can you guess the results? Some of them ate the marshmallow right away. Others shortly after as the temptation became too great. Then there were the ones who were able to delay gratification, and collect their reward of a second marshmallow.
The fascinating part of this experiment is that the researchers followed up with each kid over the next 40 years. Here’s what they discovered: The children who delayed gratification were more successful in everything they did in life. Yes, everything.
Success stems from being able to work through the pain of delaying gratification, and ignoring what you might be missing out on right now. This isn’t the easy path, but it’s the one with the greater reward.
Have I spent money going out and having drinks with my friends? Of course. And I did it knowing I could’ve used that money another way. Like reaching retirement sooner.
This sort of stuff happens, and you can’t beat yourself up for it. But if you continually work to align your spending with your values more often than not, I find you get that second marshmallow.