The marshmallow test

“How old were you when you realised that hard work and sacrifice weren’t worth it? Some realise it at retirement, when, after a lifetime of indispensability and missed weekends, they have failed to reach the top and are smoothly replaced and forgotten within a month or two.

For others the revelation strikes later. ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’ is always one the top regrets of the dying. A few precocious individuals work it out in time to fail the ‘marshmallow test’ in infancy. Asked by a stranger with a clipboard if they’d rather have one sweet now or two later, they sensibly surmise that given the inherent randomness of the universe, ‘later’ is just too much of a gamble.” (Martha Gill,The Times)

My comment: Oh, how I relate to this! I had a business in the London area. I worked long hours every day, including most weekends, conscious that I was responsible for a staff which at one point numbered 120. Then, POUFF!! the Apple Mac was introduced and our products were no longer wanted. Caput! My company was history, and was taken over (for very little). The new owner was heartily disliked by the staff, which drifted away. I married my American wife and have lived much more happily ever after, but my former colleagues – well, dispersed to the winds, they probably reflecting that their hard work had been for nothing much, except for the companionship (and the endless jokes that were the hallmark of the company). What did we do it all for? Sad!

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