Marshmallow Primed

I saw a fascinating couple of minutes discussing the impact in later life on children from parents lying to them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not good.

It comes from strangely one of the most refreshing ideas out of rolling news telly for yonks. Get a trio of stand-up comics to run through the next day's papers as they're published the night before.

Their roster of comedians come from all 'round the horseshoe. Yet provide for a way deeper, most entertaining and most of all balanced paper review show than any of the tired old options. Now rendered stale across so much radio and tv.

The point here is that we likely all know of the classic (1972) original experiment.

Young children sit in a room, marshmallow on the table. When left alone, they can eat it if they like. Or they can wait fifteen minutes and if uneaten, they'd be given another one to chomp on then as well.

The study famed for then going back years later and seeing how successful in life the kids had become. Turns out the ones who resisted immediate temptation 'outperformed' those who tucked in straight away.

And so the theory of delayed gratification underpinning achievement arose.

Yet all was not as it seemed.

There was an unshakeable, but previously unseen priming influence at play.

Those who ate the treat straight away had been conditioned by being fibbed to by authority figures in their short lives already. So thinking the promise of reward would unlikely materialise, felt they'd nothing to lose by eating anyway.

James Clear touches on this too.

It doesn't take much to link this evidence and lay it on the marshmallow we leave for our research participants; our proposed Business Case we give to potential buyers.

I've blogged before on ol' jokes among Finance pros.

Including wary through experience of never having seen an RoI projection become actual, how to apply a reduction factor (such as moving the decimal point one place left) to get closer to the expectations, and how to make such reality checks part of those whom they mentor's education.

Our solution sell can have many moving parts. Not just the sign-off for payment, but resources committed to make it happen from their side.

By how much can they truly delay gratification?

We may reassure that say, our ounce of pain making things better will produce the best pound of pleasure in the long-run.

What if they've heard it all before?

Now tired of the mirage and disappointment.

So perhaps it stands to reason to make a check of our own.

What business cases have made a mark on them during their career already?

When we know the ones that succeeded, failed and what they've seen work and not work for them, we can shape our Proposal to avoid earlier pitfalls and mirror those winners.

Here's the full discourse. Reference to the notorious marshmallows kicks in around 100secs further in.

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