Scientists have figured out that there’s basically only one skill that separates successful people from those who struggle in life. In other words, if you get better at this one thing you will find success, no matter what your goals are, even weight loss.
Are you ready to find out what it is?
Delayed gratification. Being willing to trade something you want now for something you want even more later on.
They call it the marshmallow test
When the marshmallow test was given to small children, they basically say “You can have one marshmallow now, or two in an hour” Children who took the “one now” were massively more likely to end up poor and unhappy later in life, compared to the kids who were willing to wait an hour. This has been tested again and again over the years in a variety of conditions. It’s legitimate science at this point.
If you can focus on delaying your reward and focus on what you want long term versus right now, you’ll succeed in weight loss and literally everything else in life.
How bad do you want it?
I have an interesting book called “How bad do you want it?” It’s centered around a scientific study of elite athletes around the world (runners, cyclists, swimmers), but dozens of top athletes in various sports were looked at. What they were trying to figure out was what separates the gold-medal winners from those who finish 10th, 11th, 12th, etc. From a physiological perspective, their bodies are basically identical, same size, same muscle mass, same ability to generate power and maintain endurance, etc.). At that level, there’s basically NO difference in physical ability because the human body is as good as it can possibly get. So, the study set out to figure out why the top athletes were consistently winning.
What did they find?
It’s completely mental.
The champions were willing to suffer, be miserable, and endure longer than the rest. It simply came down to them wanting it more.
When others would get to the critical point in a race when everything hurt and they just wanted to die, the champions had a unique ability to compartmentalize pain and push through. That willingness to suffer was the ONLY difference scientists could find between a world champion and an “average” athlete.
Before every marathon, I write one word on my arm in sharpie: “tomorrow”
It’s meant to remind me that no matter what I do today, no matter how I perform, no matter how I feel, how I hurt, or how it ends, I have to wake up and live with myself, tomorrow. Tomorrow I will get to reflect on my own performance and I will inevitably wonder: “Could I have done better?”
Trust me. There’s nothing worse than knowing you had a shot at achieving your goals only to give up. When it became hard, did you choose to win or did you choose easy.
Dr. Phil has built an entire career trying to help people who fail the marshmallow test. Someone once asked him the difference between winners and losers; he simply replied, “Winners are willing to pay a price that losers won’t pay.” He wasn’t referring to athletes, he was talking about people who win and lose at life.
So, there is only one question that matters. Are you willing to suffer today if it means having everything you want, tomorrow? Are you willing to pay the price that losers won’t pay?