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F*uck the Marshmallow: Greatness is Upon You

F*uck the Marshmallow: Greatness is Upon You

Posted: June 6, 2018

The Atlantic published an article that is making its way around social media, Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test. Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids' capacity to delay gratification. Here are some take aways i clipped from social media posts:

“The “marshmallow test” is really an “affluence/privilege test.”

“Poorer kids would be less motivated to wait...b/c life holds fewer guarantees: a second marshmallow seems irrelevant when a child has reason to believe that the first one might vanish.”

“Turns out children's family economic security--not their individual grit--is a reliable predictor of their long-term success.”

My friends, you hit a nerve. My frayed, exposed nerve. You might call this a rant. This gets in the face of the American fable: work hard, persevere, succeed. At first it was hard to swallow because I believe the fable. But now I’ve taken time to ponder. From discomfort my feelings have transformed. Now I’m pissed.

Separate the research from the politics.

The research suggests that grit is not a cause but rather a correlated outcome. One’s background, not the ability to delay gratification (grit), drives long-term success. Circumstances matter. Among kids whose mothers had a college degree, those who waited for a second marshmallow did no better in the long run than those who dug right in. Among kids whose mothers did not have college degrees, those who waited did no better than those who gave in to temptation. For those kids, self-control alone couldn’t overcome economic and social disadvantages.

That can all be true. Let’s go one further, it’s true. A given fact, rich kids have more advantage.

What now?

What do you tell that poor kid with the teenage mom and no dad?

The Atlantic has a message for that kid. Read the last sentence of the article: for poor children, indulging in a small bit of joy today can make life feel more bearable, especially when there’s no guarantee of more joy tomorrow. It isn’t intentional. Admittedly, I’ve taken the sentence out of context. Doesn’t matter. The subtext is there. The message is poor children are poor thru no fault of their own (true) and they are powerless to do anything about it (um . . . not true).

I can’t support that. The american fable is replete with examples of people who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. So what do you say to that poor kid with the teenage mom whose dad isn’t in his life? Give up, there is nothing you can do. Really? Do you believe that? Here is an odd thought. Instead of coming up with an answer maybe listen to what he has to say. Specifically what one such kid has to say to his own son.

Greatness Is Upon You

This is one of my favorite people on the planet, Eric Thomas. When I’m down he is my best kept secret. I’ve watched this video countless times.

Greatness is Upon You

sn’t Eric talking about the exact same thing as the study? He is. It was easy for Eric to drop out of school because his dad dropped out. As did his grandfather. He hates school but, he is getting his PhD. Why? Because he understands that his son’s success is tied to his own success. Greatness is here.

I Didn’t Get Here By Making Excuses.

The Atlantic is on some bullsh*t because the only thing you can control in this life is yourself. They are effectively taking that away. They want to feed you excuses. Will you take the bait? You will if you don’t know what you want. You owe it to yourself to know.

You Owe You

Find out what you want and then spend the rest of your natural life waking up and going after it. But you don’t want to hear that, do you? You don’t want to hear about the guy who wakes up at 2:30 in the morning to grind for the same opportunities you were given. You want to hear about 5 tips and tricks to make life easier. You want the life-hacks, not the life-hammer.

I was that kid. I decided I wasn’t going to be disadvantaged as a statistic but rather I was going to take the advantage with statistics. I accepted the grind, the fight, the work, to do everything in my power to press forward every single day and learn what I’m missing along the way. Because winners win. And losers lose. I didn’t get here making excuses. I wake up and I grind. No alarm clock required: my passion wakes me up.

I decided I wasn’t going to be disadvantaged as a statistic but rather I was going to take the advantage with statistics.

I live in America. I am a hispanic male. They don’t treat us the same, something called racism. I’m not crying about it. There will be racism until the day I die. I am not going to cry about it; I’m still going to be a millionaire. I’m still going to be one of the top data professionals in the world. No I didn’t grow up on that side of the town. My mom doesn’t have a network. I don’t “know people.” I’m not at a country club. I don’t play golf. I’m still going to be successful. I’m still going to get to where they are because I owe it to myself. Nobody can stop me but me.

Take Your Shot

To succeed you only have to hit life hard one good time in the mouth. But you need to hang in there until you get your shot. When your shot comes around, take it.

Take Your Shot

This week I heard the story for the first time. The time Eric Thomas learned greatness was upon him. This is his origin story. Pastor Willis takes this homeless 17 year old high school dropout and with love tells him to get his GED and go to college. He says, “because greatness is upon you.” 17 years old. Living in an abandoned building. Smelly, because he doesn’t shower. Bad breath from eating garbage and not brushing after. Pastor Willis says, “Greatness is Upon You.” And now he who was admonished uses his gift to admonish us.

So what do you say to the kid whose mother doesn't have a college degree? Those who wait for the marshmallow will fare no better than those who give in. Self-control alone will not overcome economic and social disadvantage. What do you say? What do you say to yourself? That kid inside you? What. do. you. say.

Greatness. Is. Upon. You.

The Atlantic makes a classic error. Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.

Git Sum (un)common sense,

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© 2018 · Rho Lall