Don’t Eat the Marshmallow, even if you’re the President of the US


What seems like another lifetime ago, Joachim de Posada was on a plane traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York City. He was reading Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It can Matter More Than IQ.
Buried in the pages of this powerful book was one page discussing the Stanford University marshmallow experiment led by psychologist Walter Mischel. This series of studies, conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was on the concept of delayed gratification.

In the study, small children were left in a room. Each child was presented with a marshmallow and given a choice of eating it immediately or waiting fifteen minutes without eating it. The children were told that if they if they waited the fifteen minutes they would be given a second marshmallow.

Two out of three children ate the first marshmallow right away, but one out of three waited the fifteen minutes. A decade later, researchers conducted follow-up studies and discovered that the children who waited for the second marshmallow were more successful as adults than the children who had gobbled the first marshmallow immediately.

Joachim was fascinated by this study and was convinced that the principle of delayed gratification was the most important factor for success. What he could not understand was how such an important concept was buried in one page of one book. This idea drove Joachim to spread the marshmallow study’s results to audiences all over the world. And because his audiences were so taken by the concept, Joachim published the book Don’t Eat The Marshmallow…Yet: The Secret To Sweet Success in Work and LIfe. 


The book was more successful in Asia (specifically Korea) than in the United States. As Joachim spoke to audiences all over the United States, he explained that the Koreans understood the concept of delayed gratification better than Americans. He suggested that the principle of delayed gratification was one that United States presidents should study and understand so that the country would stop consuming more marshmallows than it produced. Joachim wanted to take this principle of success to the government in hopes that we could save the country from economic ruin. Because of this, he implored Americans to grasp this concept and apply it to their economy.

Joachim died on June 11, 2015. He is no longer here to inspire, to educate, and to continue to spread his message.

Or is he? 

Joachim is my father. Since his death I have been slowly and steadily writing a book about the things my father did while I was growing up to foster a close relationship between us. You see, my parents were divorced and my dad’s career had him traveling 80% of the time. Yet, despite him not being physically present in my daily life, my dad seemed to always be there. Through post cards, daily phone calls, and traditions he created, my father mastered the art of being there when he wasn’t. And as I grew, so did our bond. My father was a permanent positive figure in my life, always available to listen, give advice, celebrate my triumphs, and hold me up when I failed. Because of his incalculable influence on my life, I thought that I could not live without him. But as my father often told me, humans are resilient beings able to tolerate almost anything.

Following my father’s death, I found myself hearing his voice in my mind offering advice, celebrating my triumphs, and holding me up. Not because I actually hear voices in my head… but because my brain remembers his words and his influence. What’s more, my heart remembers. Today I realize that although I cannot touch or see my father, I can feel him. My dad proved to me that he would always be there even when he wasn’t, and he proved it in the most literal sense imaginable.

What I find most gratifying is to see how my father’s presence manifests in others as well. Throughout the year and a half since his passing, I have learned how so many people carry Joachim de Posada in their hearts. I have also seen how his message continues to spread.

This week, during one of the most controversial elections this country has ever seen, The New Yorker Magazine posted this cartoon:


This post is not about whether you think Donald Trump is a marshmallow eater or resister. Regardless of whether you think this election is a result of delayed gratification or instant gratification, the point is this: The message of the marshmallow is spreading. Delayed gratification is a factor of success to which the United States and we Americans must pay attention.

40 years after Walter Mischel began this study…

12 years after Joachim de Posada published Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet…

One year and a half after Joachim’s death…

The concept of delayed gratification is still spreading. Your ideas can continue even when you’re not there to share them. That is the legacy my father left behind. The power to be there when you’re not.

Now with the Internet and social media we each have more access to spread ideas than ever before. And we all have opportunity to leave our legacy. I can only hope that we use these media for good. I hope that if you have an idea or a product of value, you share it with the world. I hope you can spread your message to inspire and educate others. My dad always said, “you can be just one applied idea away from success.”

What I have learned is to live fully and authentically during this life, nurturing my relationships with friends, family, and clients. I have learned that if we can stay connected with each other and serve as a force for good, for education, and for love – we will never die. Our essence will live on long after we’re gone.

How do I know for sure?

My dad taught me that.


Stronger Next Year

I celebrated the New Year overlooking the mountains in Vail, Colorado. This is my mother in law’s happiest place on earth. My in laws have welcomed the New Year in these mountains for the last 28 years.


The last time Orlando and I joined them was 11 years ago as we rung in 2006. We could not have dreamed that 11 years would pass before we traveled these mountains again but sometimes life just happens. Suddenly we were in a whirlwind of getting pregnant and having infants year after year. Each year, around July, we would discuss Vail and agree that we needed to wait another year. This past July, we looked around and realized our kids would be 3 going on 4, 6 and 8 in December. The baby cycle had finished and we were ready to come back.

I confess that as we prepared for our trip, I was nervous.  The last time I skied I was a 26 year old young woman. That had been my first time and I’d only taken a couple of lessons. What if I forgot everything I learned? What if I’m terrified? What if I fall and hurt myself?  

I comforted myself by relying on skiing being like riding a bike. When I put those skis on, I will remember.

The day finally came and I woke up at 5am (I was still on Miami time). The house was quiet as my family slept. I laid in my bed with my eyes closed and envisioned myself skiing successfully. Later that morning I strapped on my boots with confidence. I had signed up for a ski lesson but skipped it because I wanted to be able to check in on my kids. Instead I headed up the mountain with my husband and mother in law to ski some “greens.” My mother in law felt confident that I could ski those slopes because they were the easier ones.

As it turns out, I did forget most of what I learned; I was terrified;  and I fell constantly. There were moments that I would look down the mountain and felt completely paralyzed with fear. I did not have full control of my skis and sometimes would go faster than I intended. However, despite all these hiccups, something magical happened to me on that mountain. I realized that even though I was afraid – I was strong. Stronger, in fact, than I was 11 years ago. As most people age, they find that they can’t do things that they could do before. They gain weight over the years, even though sometimes its a subtle progression. As women have babies, their bodies change. There is a big difference between pushing 30 and pushing 40, 50, or 60. But in my case, it was the opposite. The lifestyle change that I implemented in my life 6 years ago has stalled the aging process for me. As a result of my dietary changes, I am thinner now than I was when I was in my twenties. And thankfully I found running. Running has forced me to push my body to become stronger. In the last couple of years, I have exercised regularly. I do light weight training and incorporate different exercises to supplement my running.  I am consciously and actively preparing to enter my forties in good physical condition. I witnessed the benefits of my choices on that mountain as my body hit the snow and my skis popped off.  

Falling wasn’t the point. The point was getting back up.

I got back up on the slopes because my arms and legs were strong. I had the endurance to ski down the full mountain, despite the falls. I needed practice and some instruction, but I had the CAPACITY to do it. This got me thinking about the New Year. So many people have the New Year’s resolution to lose weight. We all want to lose a few pounds before summer season starts and we are forced into our bathing suits. But sometimes our short term goals seem unattainable. We don’t feel we can lose all the weight we have to lose in a few short months. Or when it gets tough, summer doesn’t feel like enough pull to keep us going. But what if we were to change our goal. What if our goal wasn’t just to lose a few pounds in a couple of months. What if your goal was to be thinner and stronger in 10 years than you are right now?  Is that enough time? If from this moment on, you never gain another pound. And regardless of the speed with which you lose, every day you work on being a little stronger than you were the day before, how would you feel a year from now, or 5 or 10?

My point is to think of entering the next decade of your life in better physical condition than you were this decade. Imagine being 50 and feeling stronger than you did at 40. What a wonderful thing that would be. If you don’t eat the marshmallow now, what will your life look like in 10 years?

Granted,  you will age. You will slow down at some point. But the goal is not to slow down before you HAVE to. The goal is to work with what is within your control. I run with a 67 year old man that I admire greatly. He claims he is not as fast now as he was in his younger years. And yet, I still can’t keep up with him. He is FAST. He is STRONG. And he continues to set new goals for himself. He is in better physical condition than most men in their 40s. His dedication and commitment to exercise and health is allowing him to maximize his age and really enjoy himself.

Take a look at where you are now and think of where you want to be. If you are in excellent physical shape, then your goal may be to maintain that condition. Maintenance takes a lot of work. But if you are not in the shape you wish to be. If you have to lose weight, or you have high cholesterol or you don’t exercise, your time is NOW. Start making changes. Don’t worry about how long it’ll take. The goal is not to be 20 forever. It is to be the best you can be at 30, at 40, at 50 and at 90. 

As long as you’re alive, you have time. If every year, you are stronger than you were the year before, imagine how you will feel in 10 years. My wish for you is not to let aging be your limiting factor. Don’t just chalk up limitations to being older. Think you can. Know you can. Work towards being able to. As long as you do your part, the rest is up to the universe.

I can tell you that 3 babies and 11 years later, I feel privileged to have the strength to ski down this mountain. I am reaping the benefits of the choices I have made over the last 6 years and that feels amazing. As for my goal 10 years from now? To ski with my teenage sons down this very mountain – just next time I won’t skip the lessons.

img_8259*For those of you who are in your 40s or above and take this post seriously, I highly recommend reading Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge.