There’s a classic study from 1972 where children were presented with a small marshmallow. They were offered a choice— eat it straight away or hold off for a short time. If they waited they were rewarded with a large marshmallow. Further studies seemed to indicate that those children who were better able to wait would later perform better in SATS tests, and would ultimately be more ‘successful’ in life.
But it’s not only children who struggle with delayed gratification. Too often, we all want something good straight away, grabbing what we can in the moment. Sometimes it’s hard to take that step back and view each situation subjectively.
This idea rears its head in my latest short story, Payment. It’s also influenced by the Raymond Chandler books I’ve been reading recently (partly as research for a new project I’m working on, and partly because I enjoy his writing).
You can read Payment here. As always, I’d love to hear what you think of it.