The Doughnut Dilemma

I found myself in an intriguing psychological conundrum this morning as I walked home from Starbucks with a coffee and doughnut in hand. The doughnut was from the supermarket, and the only reason I had this jam-filled, caramel-coated, sprinkle-dusted treat, was because I received an instant win token from the store the previous day and was collecting my delectable prize.

Now, as I exited the store, I debated about when to take my first bite. There were seats outside facing the parking lot, but my pastry deserved a better view than that. I began walking home with my doughnut in a napkin, salivating at the thought of biting into its colourful, sugar-glazed flesh. But halfway home, when I figured a view wasn’t necessary, and I didn’t need my feet up to enjoy my delicious treat, my heavy-handed conscience stepped in and chastised me for my lack of restraint.

There’s an insightful TED Talk called, Don’t eat the marshmallow! from a few years back, which presents research conducted on a group of young children. The experiment was aimed at measuring each child’s ability to exercise delayed gratification, meaning, to see if they were prepared to ‘suffer’ in the short term for future gain. In summary, from what I remember, the kids are left in a room with a marshmallow on a plate and are told if they hold off eating the sweet for fifteen minutes, they’ll be given another marshmallow as a reward.

Some kids eat the marshmallow before the time is up and some don’t. The ones who display self-control and wait, are proven to have experienced greater success in their later years compared to the ones who ate the marshmallow straight off. Take this evidence with a grain of salt, but if I were one of those kids, not only would I have left the marshmallow on the plate, when a second marshmallow was offered to me, I would have stuffed it in my pocket, and taken them both home for dessert.

During Easter, when I was a kid, I used to save my chocolate eggs like a squirrel preparing for winter. At times, I kept them for so long the chocolate turned white and became inedible. So here’s a question for you TED, is it possible to delay gratification for so long it actually turns out to be negative?

Most of us are terrible at celebrating success and enjoying what’s in front of us in the present. When we reach a milestone, we shift the goalposts and focus our attention on the new target before even taking a breath. I wondered if this principle applied to my doughnut. Should I be enjoying a bite while the desire is there, or would the temptation destroy my self-discipline for the future?

I know I have a tendency to overthink things, but it’s my nature to be curious and regimented. At least now I’m home I can put my feet up and look out the window because my doughnut’s still waiting to be eaten.

21 thoughts on “The Doughnut Dilemma”

  1. And now you’re qualified to live in Japan where they’ll slap your ass if you eat while walking. 🙂 I’m only serious. Kidding.

    1. Hahaha! Great to hear from you Dave. I’m having a magical time with Don and Donna. They are the kindest more generous people on this planet. Plus, Vons makes a pretty decent doughnut is appears! Much love to you guys in the east!! xoxo

  2. Great! Now you have me staring at my morning coffee and cake!! LOL!! Great post Muk! Wish i had the answer for you.. Take care and greetings from Greece!

  3. I too have heard that same TED Talk. Pretty interesting how different people react to temptation/ reward.

    Your doughnut delima reminds me exactly how I feel when I open my email and see a new post from the sweet and sparkly Muk Muk !

    Do I drop everything and gobble up your latest post in a haste. Or do I honor the truth of things to come. Do I wait till I actually have time to read between the lines…with my own coffee and my own feet up somewhere with a view?

    Like a gift under the Christmas tree…no matter what is inside that colorfully wrapped, bow topped (Shrodengers) box, I am always rewarded with a precious gift !!

    Wish I could return the favor 😁

    Love from the Oregon Coast
    Where
    Lyndella Sings

    1. Your beautifully articulated, confidence inspiring, thought-provoking comments are your greatest gift in return. Thank you Lyndella! 💜

      1. From one Storyteller to another,
        I will take that as great compliment.

        May joy fill your Blank Page today
        🔳

    1. It feels like I could be anywhere right now as my days consist of waking up and staring at my laptop for 12+ hours to complete draft 5… but I am in one of my favourite parts of the world with two of my favourite people! 🙂

  4. Giggle…you funny girl….I think that doughnut must have been greatly anticipated….I always call doughnuts “do nots” ’cause I was always wanting to lose weight…Now that I have lost 80lbs, I will eat a doughnut happily…..I doubt not!! Smiling…Love from your old friend from San Diego….Barbie!!
    (who will probably have to go get some ice cream, now that I think about it)

    1. Ice cream and doughnuts are both good for writing, or so I’ve heard! So knock yourself out Barbie, you deserve it! 🍦🍩

  5. Hi darling
    What will happen , when you win some more of those “instant win token” from your supermarket? Will they end up like your Easter Eggs, haha.
    I do remember you saving them so carefully whilst your sister had eaten them already. What will TED’s answer be for your question.? Lovely blog darling and stay curious. Enjoy your time over there.
    Love you, mutti xx

  6. The outcome may have been different with a case of “hiker hunger”..sometimes the tummy simply overrules restraint and that can be extrodinarily satisfying without a hint of guilt.

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