Delayed Gratification

Babies wear a diaper because they don’t know how to control nature’s call. As they get older, even with diapers, they start noticing when they need to do #1 and #2. Then, parents start potty training them graduating diaper to training pants to underwear.

This is a significant step in development. A child is fully aware of his body’s basic needs and knows how to control. After a few accidents of wet bed and wet pants, he learns when to wait and when to go to the bathroom.

This is the same for eating. Babies cry when they get hungry. At the beginning, there is no pattern. It does not matter to them when they eat as they are not aware of time. Slowly parents start to introduce a regular feeding schedule and they have less feeding at night and more feedings during the day. The same goes for sleep.

Learning to control our basic needs and desires has much deeper implications than good habits. As we learn to control our body’s basic needs, we are developing our brain areas that control impulses, the prefrontal part of the brain that controls our logical thinking, planning, and action. We learn to anticipate and prepare in advance. We learn to wait.

There is a famous marshmallow experiment conducted on pre-school children. Children who could resist the temptation of a marshmallow and wait for a bigger reward later do much better in life than children who couldn’t resist the temptation of a marshmallow and ate right away.

The leadership and executive functions start with you with the simplest thing. Start eating on a regular schedule whether you are hungry or not. Eating has more meaning than controlling our hunger. Learn to wait even when you are hungry. Try to sleep and wake up on a regular schedule. All the basic activities that are done with intention and consistency help you build the executive functions of your brain and drive you to become a calmer and organized person. Wait to get what you want. This is an extremely important development program for children and young adults.