It’s the age old image of an angle sitting over one shoulder telling you to control yourself and do what’s right and a little devil hanging over the other telling you to indulge and do whatever you want.
The New York Times says that regardless of the push and pull of these two forces in our lives, we can learn to show restraint and stay goal-oriented.
By seeing the long-term rewards of good behavior, we can avoid pigging out in the moment.
With Kids, it’s called the Marshmallow Test–those who can resist eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes, get two marshmallows to enjoy later!
For adults, it may be that those who avoid the cake and ice cream today will live healthier and longer in the future.
In Yiddish, there is the term sitzfleisch that refers to our ability to sit still and get our work done.
The point is that if we can distract and distance ourselves from the indulgences of the moment, we can focus on the important things we really want to achieve with our lives.
Of course, this is always easier said than done, because the two forces are both powerful and can be convincing.
For example, how many times can you hear, “Enjoy life a little, you aren’t going to live forever” or “You’ve worked so hard, you deserve a little break”, or “Come on, no one is perfect”…before you give in to a little excess?
We are all tested in life, and we must try our best to pass as many as we can with flying colors–probably success is a healthy balance between living a little today in the here and now and working and saving abundantly for tomorrow’s marshmallows.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)