As a teenager, it can sometimes be difficult to have patience. In fact, patience is definitely not one of my strong characteristics. This is very tough because being patient can lead to some great rewards in the long run.
I love the story told by Dieter F. Uchtdorf in his general conference talk titled “Continue in Patience.” He talks about an experiment by a professor at Stanford University which occurred in the 1960s. Children at the age of 4 years old were given a giant marshmallow. They were told that they could eat it or, if they waited 15 minutes, they could receive a second marshmallow. Interestingly, only 30 percent of the children tested were able to wait for the greater reward. He later kept track of the children who were a part of the experiment and found that those who ate the first marshmallow without waiting tended to struggle later on in life, while those who did wait the 15 minutes seemed much happier and had a more positive outlook on life.
This is a very eye-opening experiment to me. I feel that I am happy most of the time and usually pretty positive about my current situations. But, there is never anything wrong with being happier and I intend to improve my patience in order to increase my happiness in life. The other part of the experiment that I think about is how those who waited received a much greater reward than the kids who did not wait. How many times do I choose to settle for a smaller reward, which is still a good reward? It could be as simple as if I want to buy something, end up waiting to buy it, and then something new comes out that I want much more. By exercising just a little bit of bit of patience and sacrifice, I can receive a far greater reward.
I hope to always strive to be like the 30 percent of children who were willing to wait for that second marshmallow. Hopefully, you will do the same. I know that with patience and sacrifice we are able to gain rewards of great value.