CXVIII. The Heuristics of Success -

I like strawberries - a lot. Let us refer to 13 blog posts earlier.


In my household, there is a running joke: If I like a certain food or dish, I will keep eating that coveted culinary treat until I can only be consoled by bubble gum pink Pepto Bismol tablets.

When it comes to all that can be classified as chaat or Premium unsalted crackers, I have no self-control. I swear, crackers had made up more than half of my body composition until a couple of months ago when I realized that consumption of said crackers caused me to retain an inordinate amount of water.

Turns out crackers can make you feel far heavier than a bowl of pasta. It’s that whole Na+/K- pump channel in your cells kind of logic.

Recently, the concept of self-control acting as an accurate predictor of success, has re-emerged, perhaps as a result of the “more is better” AT&T commercials which showcases kids in a classroom talking through childish logic in an attempt to hamper the 1 adult moderator’s challenges. 

A telling and monumental study was conducted some time back. Children were the subjects of the experiment. Individually, each child would be left alone in a room with a goody, whether it be a toy or confection. Left alone in an empty room aside from furniture and that sole distraction in the form of food or fun. The child was told that he/she would be given some prize, of an amplified value as compared to the prize in the room. So long as the goody already in the room was not consumed or played with, if it were a toy, the child could expect to reap a greater reward.
If, however, during the allotted period of time, the child had in fact took a bite from a marshmallow or perhaps bent the joints of a anthropomorphized figurine/doll, he/she would have forfeited a more gratifying gift.

Years later,during the depths of their young adulthood, the children were contacted by the cognitive scientists. From the resulting analysis of the matured specimen, a very telling pattern was forged: Those children who resisted the temptation in the room wound up as more successful in their professional lives than those children who chose to satiate their appetite for diversion at a quicker rate.

After my attention was again brought to this study, I became anxious: Could my lack of self-control, as described above, though trivially harmless, be detrimental to my attainment of success?

As anyone who has ever had an internal monologue can attest to happening, I quickly  countered the aforementioned thought not even a second later.

No; I do have self-control. Whenever I’m at a social gathering, I hardly eat at all. I have to maintain the hours I put into walking off extra calories prior to this little gathering during the time that I’m present at the event as well. At the end of the day, I come home feeling triumphant, hands on hip right under my lowest rib bone.

Perhaps I have most self-control when not in the comforts of a solo existence. Perhaps my prospects of success ride on the idea of working amongst free-moving bodies as opposed to an inanimate desk.

I know this to not be true either.

The beginnings of my quest for intellectual competence as opposed to sophomoric musings, occurred while I was alone, working at my desk, in my room, on my desktop computer: now a completely foreign concept to this laptop holding and open floor plan favoring adult.

I also recall freshman year of college when I had, almost quite literally, mastered calculus. I had calculated hundreds of problems per week for months only to hear my academic adviser suggest that I major in math - a scary, scary thought. The explanation for my little triumph was that I was determined to start off my college career with a high GPA. After that sleepless stint, I never pursued math again.

I do not have self-control while I am alone and hence certain logic dictates that I would be more successful should I be around others.

Yet history dictates that solo occupancy with my thoughts has caused me to achieve the successes, though in sparing quantities, that I have had til date.

The heuristics as pertains to any future success I may experience in my life remains unknown. As of now, I think the primary step is to know my self-worth, my secondary step, in turn, is not to settle, and the tertiary step is to only work harder until success is achieved.

Here we can discuss the semantics of success. I’m referring to the top of the top, the elite, the cream of the crop, the diamond garnet in the rough, because diamonds are frivolous, overrated, and ugly while garnets are original, rare, beautiful, my first memory of love for a jewelry in the form of my mother’s Kashmiri necklace that I broke, and the gemstone of New York.