Do You Want A Cold Towel Now Or Can You Wait Until Later?

A few years ago my girlfriends and I went to the San Luis Hotel in Galveston to celebrate one of our birthdays. While we were sitting out at the pool on a delightfully hot July afternoon, the waiters walked around passing out super cold, wet and wonderfully scented towels to refresh ourselves with. What a grand idea! It sparked an idea for my indoor cycle class. I ordered a bunch of washcloth size towels from Amazon, rolled them up and soaked them in eucalyptus scented water and put them in the refrigerator to cool. The next time I taught class I brought them out midway through class. What a hit they were - especially for those that just get red and overheated and don't sweat much. The reaction was so positive, I continue to bring them every Sunday for my spoiled indoor cyclists. 

I have a few members that really need the towels to cool down in the middle of class. The rest of them are fine waiting until the end. While I was walking around the room at halftime with the towels asking if anyone needed one right now or did they want to wait, I was reminded of the marshmallow experiment and shared it with the class. In the Stanford marshmallow experiment they offered children a choice between a reward now, or if they waited about 15 minutes they would get two rewards. The rewards were marshmallows, cookies, or sometimes pretzels. In the follow-up studies they found that the children who were able to wait longer for the two rewards tended to have better life outcomes in reference to education, health and other measures. So I teased the class about their wanting the towels now and a few said - never mind - they could wait! 

It is an interesting experiment that can be applied to our lives in many ways. The waiting or not waiting can be a risk. Will we miss out on some important opportunity by waiting or will we miss out on personal growth by jumping in right away? Weigh the situation and decide the best move forward for you.