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Marshmallow & Future

Looking into the future has always been something mankind wanted to do, even if that future was unsure. But we know that the behaviour of kids indicates how they will act as adults. Considering all this, how does character form and behaviour impact success in business and life?


The most important revelation is that how you are as child mirrors your later life and business success. The famous “Marshmallow-Test” showed that kids are best prepared if they learn patience and understand in the early stages of life that the choice is between quick and small rewards or long-term and doubled rewards. The fights of some of them over Marshmallows makes us smile, but it is really serious and proven – patience leads to success and this is an unfailing truth.

We can learn a lot from our children. The fact is that they act without restriction except for having all their basic needs satisfied – hunger, love, shelter and thirst. That’s all. Putting this experience into adult life and, especially business life, is more complicated. Because our decisions are influenced by all the underlying experiences we’ve had in the past and, not only the experiences, but the outcomes of these particular experiences, may make us act in contradiction to how perhaps we should.

Communication is very simple when we don’t fear other outcomes from our behavioural decisions.

We want to win, be the hero and polish our EGO. This is the usual case and the contrary reality is so simple. Communication should be simple and free of any strategic games. Long-term success is guaranteed If the connection straight-forward and compassionate, even if that seems difficult at the moment.

So we can learn exactly what we should do from our children.

1. Be yourself

Be exactly who you are, not just a copy of someone else, or a filtered-out version of who you think other people want you to be. Authenticity (the real you) is what builds connections and relationships, so why choose anything less?

2. Just be happy

Children’s default response is to be ‘happy’ … and you can choose this as well. Your mood is actually up to you and a choice you can make at any time of any day, in any situation.

3. Skip

I’m not kidding! Need to drop the stress of a frustrating workday or find a way to put yourself in that ‘happy’ place? Skip! I’m pretty sure it will be impossible for you (or those around you) to remain angry or stressed after a skip around the block. Plus, it’s great exercise.

4. Make friends

“Will you be my friend?” While we might not ask exactly that same question in our adult lives, the sentiment is the same: we need to reach out and make connections – over the rest of our business and personal lives. Friendships always matter, because they are really all about relationships!

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say

Beyond a certain age, we call this “integrity.” Have you made a commitment? Stick to it. Have you twisted the truth? Straighten it out. Have you delivered what you promised, when and how you said you would? Don’t allow yourself the option of any answer other than ‘Yes!’

6. Smile

The smile is a powerful little movement: it relieves stress, reduces blood pressure, changes your mood (see #2 above and begin with a smile) and, my personal favorite, it’s one of the few contagious responses we actually CRAVE. Give away a smile and it comes right back to you!

7. Relax… take a nap

I recently did a whirlwind trip to Bogota Columbia (for SMWBOG) and when I returned only got a short night’s sleep before I was back to work, beyond exhausted. All it took was a nap to get me back to myself and ready to be productive again. I say it’s time to bring back the nap! It’s free, it’s easy and it WORKS.

8. Be fearless

When did we allow our lives to shift from fearlessness to playing it safe and so heavily basing our decisions on mitigating risk? If we let fear get in the way, we will have traded innovation for stagnation… genius for mediocrity … adventure for boredom. Which of those choices sounds better to you?

9. Sing

Singing is a wonderful form of expression, even if you just sing along with a song in the car, where nobody else can hear you. Don’t you love passing someone in traffic who is ‘dancing’ and singing, in their own world with the music? Be one of those people!

10. Wonder about everything

Wonder is one of the most important tools we have in our lives, no matter what age we happen to be. When we ‘wonder’ about everything, we remain curious and interested in what and who surrounds us, always looking for possibilities. World-changing innovations have grown from wonder (Steve Jobs, anyone?).

11. Explore

Exploration is a fantastic way to gain new perspectives, both literally and figuratively. Get out of your everyday physical, mental, and emotional environment and you may be surprised at what you discover about yourself, your work and your relationships!

12. Play

Take the opportunity and play any time you can. Play golf and play polo and play with everything that allows you to dive into the world of imagination and unintended consequence. Book ten minutes of play in every daily schedule.


But try not to play with people’s minds; they will not forgive you for that.



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