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"The kind of story you can read and re-read with new insights every time.
If you want to begin changing
your life right now, read this book."
--Marcy Ullom, Ed.D., Associate VP, University of Miami
Born into great wealth but plunged into poverty as a
teen, I grew up knowing more about the perils of
losing success than the secrets of attaining it. Although
my parents recovered after being stripped of everything
in midlife, they never regained a prosperous mind-set,
and I absorbed their fears more fully than their successes.
Those fears fueled my desire to be financially successful
and were, in part, what drove me to make a living out of
teaching people how to achieve. I grew up to be a motivational
speaker who inspired thousands of business executives
and professional athletes to attain their goals
using valuable principles of success. But what I didn't realize at the time was that I was leaving out one very important
part of the equation.
Then, I read about marshmallows, and it changed my
life-as it will yours-forever.
After my family lost everything, things were never
the same. My parents were never the same, and I was
never the same. I think Dad always feared losing everything
again, so he overprotected himself. After he regained
his wealth, he still drove an old Chevy. He didn't
get a Cadillac until he was eighty-one (and died in that
same Cadillac two years later). Subconsciously, I had the
same fear, but I reacted in the opposite way by spending
everything I made. I lived a very lavish life: I spent
money on trips, women, gifts, late-model cars and expensive
jewelry, never saving a penny and spending more
than I made. I ate all my marshmallows as soon as I got
my hands on them.
At this point you might be wondering, why didn't my
father stop me? Why didn't he attempt to instill in me
the same financial values he had learned? My father
never taught me the secret to being a successful person
because he didn't understand it himself. He was able to
put that secret into practice not because of some formulaic
knowledge, but because he feared losing everything
again. When you are very rich and you suddenly wake up
penniless, you learn very important life lessons, but you
don't always have time to think about them, much less
teach them to others. Thus the secret of attaining wealth
remained a mystery to me-a mystery that I later became
determined to solve. I wanted to understand and be able
to consistently explain:
Why some people "make it" and some people do not.
Why some people are successful, while others fail.
Why 90 percent of people who reach age sixty-five
are not independently wealthy, but have to continue
working, depend on Social Security or pray
that a son or daughter makes it through medical or
law school and can afford to help out during the
last years of their lives.
I have been a motivational speaker for more than
thirty years. I have spoken in more than thirty countries
for some of the best corporations in the world and have
built up an extensive client list. I have also been involved
with sports, motivating athletes in the National
Basketball Association and the Olympics. I have found
the same question applies: Why is it that some athletes
make it and others do not? It's obviously not just talent
or ability. The world is full of talented athletes who never
make it, and full of less talented athletes who have made
My desire to find the true secret of success led to
more research. In the process, I came upon a psychological
study performed by a very prominent American psychologist
named Dr. Walter Mischel.
I won't go into details on the study right here because
you will read about it in the book, but let me tell you one
thing: I found the secret-why some people succeed and
others fail. I thought the lesson was so important that I
decided to write a book about it, with the help of my brilliant
coauthor Ellen Singer.
Now hear this: This principle must be taught to
everyone. What I'm about to tell you is the difference between
being rich and being poor. It's a secret that must be
taught to all the children of the world. I taught it to my
daughter. I want to teach it to you, so you can pass it on
to your children.
This book is for entrepreneurs, company employees
and self-employed people. It's for athletes and people
who generally want to get ahead in life. It's for teachers,
who have such an awesome responsibility in educating
our youngsters. And yes, it's for teenagers who are willing
to change their behavior in order to succeed in life.
But before you move on to the marshmallow parable,
here's a question:
There were three frogs that were floating down the
river on top of a leaf. One of them decides to jump into
the river. How many frogs are left on top of the leaf?
Most people will answer that two remain.
There are three frogs left on top of the leaf.
Because deciding to jump and jumping are two different
How many times have you decided to lose weight and
found that three months later, the numbers on the scale
still haven't changed? How many times have you decided
to stop smoking and had a cigarette your next night out?
How many times have you decided to clean your attic
over the weekend, only to find on Monday it looks even
If that sounds like you, I hope that you do decide to
read this book and apply what you learn here, and that
you will jump (leap!) toward success.
Sir Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power." He was
right, but he forgot one word to make the phrase foolproof.
"Applied knowledge is power." If you know and you
don't do, you don't know. It is as simple as that.
Read the book and apply everything you learn. Your
life will never be the same. I promise.
I learned the secret. I stopped eating all my marshmallows.
When you are finished with this book, you will too.
--Dr. Joachim de Posada,
international speaker and author
of How to Survive Among Piranhas,
a book that examines the laws of success
(rules you can apply to great benefit,
after you learn how to resist marshmallows)
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