The Marshmallow Test

I’ve been reading about habits / habit loops and came across this video on willpower and habits. It includes the story of the marshmallow test, which I’ve read about before so I knew about the study and results. I don’t recall ever seeing the actual video before though. The marshmallow test was a study from the early 70’s on delayed gratification, offering a child 1 marshmallow or, if they could wait 10 minutes, they could have a 2nd marshmallow. Video from the marshmallow test is in this Ted Talks at 10:11 - 11:05, and it is pretty funny to watch. Then I started thinking about the Playing live and nerves topic in the community which I have been watching but not contributing to as I let nerves get the better of me at the last OM and so didn’t feel I had any advice or input to offer. I’m thinking after doing some reading about habits though that there might be something in the pursuit of developing positive habit loops that would be helpful for playing live and nerves. Regardless, it’s a funny minute watching the kids in the marshmallow test :slight_smile:


I think there’s a whole untapped field of research here…

…GAS and the Marshmellow Test! :wink:


So buy 1 guitar today, or 2 if you wait a week? Lol


Thanks for that Mari.
If I practice guitar every day for a year I get 2 guitars. Works for me


A whole year certainly sounds like delayed gratification to me, enjoy practicing and enjoy your new guitars! Lol


There certainly is thought patterns that can be useful in order to reduce nerves before going live. But it have to be directed towards the cause of the nerves. Like an antidote. Those antidotes are used as the mind-training in order to change bad habits and thus help tame the mind.

Real confidence doesn’t come from being skilled, as we easy get to believe. Many times we actually become more nervous from being skilled. That’s because being skilled doesn’t solve the root cause for being nervous. - As skills develop, we also have a tendency to expect more, meaning it hurts more when we make a mistake, as we think we shouldn’t be doing that as skilled.

Our disturbing emotions is the cause of our mental misery. The very root of all that is ignorance. But lets not go there. It’s way too deep. But the disturbing emotions we all know about, we can deal with by doing the correct mind-training. That is to train the antidote of those disturbing emotions.

Instead of emotions, we could also call them the five poisons of the mind. Within those five, ignorance is present, but if looking at the other four, that gives us: desire/craving/greed, anger/hatred/aversion, jealousy/envy and last pride/megalomania/arrogance/thinking we are better/more than others.

When we have anger/hatred/aversion, then the antidote will be loving kindness and compassion.

When we have desire/craving/greed, then the antidote is generosity.

When we have envy/jealousy, then the antidote is rejoicing.

When we have pride/megalomania/arrogance/thinking we are better/more than others, the antidote will be being humble, see ourself as equal no matter skill level.

Those four create so much suffering for us, in all kind of ways.
Anger/hatred is easy to discover. We get destructive thoughts, our body can shake and it is easy to feel and know.
Greed/craving/desire is fairly easy to recognise also.

The two last is very tricky. It doesn’t take much before we become mentally blind. They are also very tricky to deal with because they can be so hard to recognise. Mind is very tricky when it comes to these two.

But those last two are a big part in having loads of nerves before going on stage or doing live performance. Thee more those two habits have grown stronger, the more nerves will there be in such situation as when going live in front of others.

The last one, pride/megalomania/thinking we are more or better than others, create an expectation that there is something we have to live up to. It’s the same coin as lower self-esteem, just the other side. We are unable to relax and just enjoy and have fun. Sometimes it’s not really there and at other times it can hit us like a freight train. - For some that bad habit can be so overwhelming that they stop performing all together. No longer go to the scene and maybe even going to hide in the woods.

When reading through posts, it goes again and again, am I good enough, I made some mistakes here and there, how will others see me, etc etc etc. That is lower self-esteem / pride-megalomania.

If we could totally let go of that, we would not be nervous before performing. It takes a lot of training to be able to just let go. So instead of letting go, we can try with some antidote.
It could be see all of us as equal. Just like guitar training, do it over and over. We are all equal, no matter skill level. When ever we notice we have expectations, we can take tell ourself, that what ever happens, happens and it’s totally ok. There are many other ways dealing with that.

My first video I put up, is labelled as with sweaty hands, but that was not because of nerves, but because I had just swallowed a big mug of warm tea. That makes my hands start to sweat.

In my young days, I was skilled in many things. I also used to ride the bike 7 days a week and did 35 km on average for 80 - 120 km. I was totally proud and suffered from megalomania. Despite the many skills I also suffered from lower self-esteem at the same time. Now my body is ruined and time is running out, nothing to brag about anymore.

It took me almost 20 year to tame my mind to a degree where I don’t suffer from those mental issues. There are still traces of those habits, but since I also have trained to recognise and being able to let go, it more or less happen automatically. Just like my bad habits in the past happened automatically, the serious mind training during all those years have now become good habits and I hardly put effort into it anymore. Being constant mindful and able to see when ever something comes up and just let go, is a habit.

When some say that we will always have nerves, it’s simply not true. That is a statement that comes from not knowing, ignorance. Can also be a sophisticated excuse for not wanting to deal with the issue, if I was to make that statement, because I have 25 years of education and practice with these things.

A very good friend of mine, Daniel Goleman have written some books. Emotional Intelligence and some other books worth reading. I don’t recommend him because we are old friends, but because they are good and he knows what he talks about.
Another friend of mine is one of the leading neuro-psychologists here in Denmark and we have spent many hours talking over the years. Have done some work for him also. So I got a little knowledge within that also.
It’s friends like that I have, professors, lawyers, philosophers, anthropologists etc.

I was not sure if I should make this post or not. But my strong commitment I made in my mid twenties kind of force me to. - I have tried to avoid it, but when you make a post like you do here, I feel I have no choice, than contribute with the knowledge and experience I have. Due to my strong commitments.

No matter of people agree or not, I hope it will be received as intended and that is, that I made this post out of care and loving kindness for all sentient beings. To help and serve wherever I can and share my experiences, insight and knowledge. - If some should feel intimidated, become angry or what ever, I am sorry you are getting such feelings. I have no intention of hurting and harming. Also if such feelings should arise, they doesn’t belong to me.

Have a moderator delete the post, if it is too much, and I will never touch the subject again in this community. I know it can by some, be perceived in not so good ways. :heart: :heart: :heart: :pray: :pray: :pray:


Thank you for your thought-provoking post Kim Lodro. It makes a great deal of sense to me.

Mari, I have just started reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits. I read Brainjo which was also interesting food for thought. And there are other excellent books on the pursuit of mastery, such as George Leonard’s.

Now I am a ‘master’ at knowledge acquisition, have plenty patience, need to dial up on application.


To summarise your poisons “Be more Zen” works for me. :wink:


Whenever we notice those poisons in our mind, we quickly grab our guitar and sing and play “Let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be - Beatles” - works also. Yup, total Zen :wink: :joy:

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Can’t remember Dogen saying that. :rofl:


The marshmallow test is such a good one. We use those principles with our kids. And try to use it with myself.

I like how they found the kids that were good at delayed gratification did better with achieving goal in life.

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I’m in the middle of reading the Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters at the moment. One theme that is present right from the start of the book is about us having a thinking mind and an emotional mind (our chimp) which is 5x stronger than our thinking mind which is why we often make bad decisions based on emotion rather than on knowledge and reason. I suppose if we put this in the context of playing live, our emotions are screaming about all of the ways that it can go badly for us and how we’ll never be able to show our faces in public ever again.
The book obviously then has plenty about how to deal with this but that’s as far as I’ve got so far!!!
I’ve also read Atomic Habits as mentioned by @DavidP - it’s a good book. Some might dismiss it as just rehashing a lot of common sense, but if it’s so obvious then why aren’t we all on top of our habits (both good ones and bad ones)?


Thanks for the video share @Mari63 that was a really interesting watch. I’ve also sent it to my wife for a watch.

@kimlodrodawa Great post Kim and very true. Zen is soon going to be my middle name.


Ah, who doesn’t love a bit of amateur/pop psychology? :smiley:

Reflection on ourselves and how we fit into our world can be one of the most rewarding human activities. However, I shudder at the thought that I would take someone else’s teachings at face value.
If something works for you, that’s really cool. You should stick with it.
I prefer to see us for what we are: a clump of atoms/molecules arranged into unique sequences (by genetic code), physically interacting with whatever environment we inhabit. The amazing aspect, or meaning of life for me, is the fact that our nervous system has developed the ability to process our perceptions and learn more about how the laws of physics and nature, and how those processes result in how we ‘feel’, as well as how we behave. Lack of ‘free will’ does not bother me at all because, like most humans, when my tiny brain runs out of rational explanations, I resort to magical/religious thinking :magic_wand::angel:
My pride and megalomania prevent me from accepting there are five poisons in my mind (although I do acknowledge that alcohol has knocked off some of my neurons over the years :rofl:).
Didn’t a famous boy once proclaim that “love is hard to find in the church of the poison mind”?:wink:


That is so cool to hear. :+1: :sunglasses: :heart: :pray: And thnx for the kind words about the post. I have seen how many have been helped via this common sense, that we have forgotten in pursuit of fake happiness and quick fixes. – Been there myself more than many. I have had almost 50 years of hellish nightmare until I finally got a breakthrough in dealing with my mind. But I was anxious about how it was perceived. - Just with little effort, we can actually mentally become so much better and not have to deal with all those self-made issues. Compassion, care and loving kindness is the foundation for a wonderful world. We all have to do our bit. I did a big share, so the rest of you don’t have to take the long tough road :wink:

One of my many teachers have dealt a lot with anxiety. He is now on Forbes. Yeah, really amazing. Also he have gone through a lot of scientific tests and so on. He have a different approach to it, than many other of the teachers. — It is more and more becoming common knowledge. There are constantly big conferences between monks like Mingyur Rinpoche and leading western scientists and psychologists etc. -

We have had a lot of big philosophers here in Europe in 1800 - 1920. Then turmoil was happening and shortly after came capitalism and flowerpower movement, Rostock and it kind of got forgotten. — Now as people more and more suffer mentally, it comes back. And have to come back, else we really are lost if we don’t tame our mind, at least to a certain degree. - We don’t all have to walk the path like I and others. - Just basic stuff and getting ethic and moral back to our lives. - Also good idea to throw away empathy and reinstall compassion, care and loving kindness. :wink:

Mingyur Rinpoche on Forbes and also I beet you can find the scientific stuff he have been involved in via search. Should be easy to find if any are interested into such things, mind-training and meditation and stuff. - Many years since I last got teachings from him.


That how Darwinism talks. The eugenics. Bruce Lipton proved many years ago, that we are not a product of our genes. Rather our mind is what controls us. We can change our genes via our mind. That’s how powerful our mind is. - It is ok, if you want to go along with the Eugenics. It’s a believe, but not science, unless you call it pseudo-science. - But it’s ok, why not. - We can believe what we want, but truth is truth, no matter what we believe. Darwinism and Eugenics is not the truth, it’s a believe. - As you say, what ever works, works. But I do assure you, that alcohol is not the solution. I know many Danes have this thought, that enough alcohol will solve all problems. The bigger problems, the more we need to drink, seem to be the believes of the Danes. :joy: :joy: :joy: It’s no problem for me. I am not here to convince anyone. And I am not a believer or pretender. I always have been looking for the truth. But old saying is: It is more dangerous to tell the truth, than to walk into a gunpowder filled room with a lit torch :wink: You don’t seem to suffer from mind-problem, but for people who seriously suffer from anxiety and other strong emotions, it can really help… to grab the guitar and just sing Let it be… Zen :joy: :rofl:

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Well…Never trust an atom ,they make up everything… :grin:

I TRY:blush: my best to live like this for the last 3 years or so…

There is something that one can find in one single place in the world. It is a great treasure, one can call it the fulfillment of existence. And the one place where you can find this treasure is the place where you stands… (in Dutch it sounds better to me, but that shouldn’t matter for the intention :wink:)

or simply put …enjoy the moment,watch with amazement


Although this is discussion is neither political nor religious, it contains a lot of similarities, so I shall refrain from indulging much more in it. You do make a couple of statements, which I do have to address.
I am not an expert, but I studied my fair share of science. I trained and worked as a doctor for a number of years, including research into the genetics of mental disorders.

Darwinism is accepted mainstream science

Most scientists would disagree.

My flippant remark about alcohol, states that it is a poison. Apologies if I gave a different impression.

I think you may be confusing genetics with eugenics.

The main difference between pseudoscience and science is that pseudoscience does not adhere to generally accepted scientific standards. (Even Mr. Lipton decided to step out. “I just left the system. I realised the message is more important for the average person than it is to argue in the halls of science”)

Whilst I am happy that Forbes believes your teacher is the happiest man in the world, It is a publication dedicated to Mammon and business, (who’s founder had the motto “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Sigh…)
It is obviously untrue, as I happen to know that I am the happiest person in the world. (No, really. I am! :rofl:)

I hope I haven’t upset anyone with this, and of course will respectfully read any replies, but please don’t take offense if I choose not to discuss in more depth. As you say, let it be.
I wish you every joy on your zen journey and in particular with the musical aspect of it :smiley:
Hilsen etc.

The greedy part of me wants to enjoy all the moments, and watch with amazement.

Right, now where’s my guitar?


reminds me of when they mess with the kids minds with the experiment


But that’s exactly what it means… everywhere you stand … so that’s not Greedy…take it all :smile: (okay there are exceptions like when you on an examination / operation table and they push a hose into something … or something like that,then there are seconds you don’t enjoy,breaking bones…etc :blush:).

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