Monday, June 18 , 2018, 3:44 am | Fair 52º


Louise Palanker: Rushing Life and the Marshmallow Experience, Cheerleader Tryouts, and Crushes

Question from Sara

How can I resist the urge to rush my life? I’m in high school, and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never even been close to a guy. I haven’t had my first kiss.

Everyone else has been in relationships for years. They walk around the halls holding hands and putting their arms around each other. My best friend just got a boyfriend recently.

Now, there’s a guy I like who everyone says likes me back, but nothing significant is happening between us. It’s upsetting me and I don’t know why. It’s making me feel bad about myself. I don’ know why I feel that way, but how can I make it stop? How can I stop trying to rush into things?


We live in a time that is allowing us to receive a lot of instant gratification. I love technology and I am a huge fan of gadgets and devices and social networks and texting and instantaneous access to facts and information and movie start times and streaming content, and my right as a human citizen of earth to binge beyond reasonable capacity on The West Wing and Gilmore Girls.

Do not even try to talk to me when I am without access to WiFi.

AND, I also believe that we are at our happiest when we put a ton of effort into our lives, fully recognizing that the reward we seek may be somewhere far down the road ... or it won’t be. But regardless, we will know the fulfillment of having tried.

Despite the alluring presence of Amazon’s 1-Click button, we are not meant to always have exactly what we want right now. Look around you at all of the choices available that make people momentarily gratified but ultimately unwell. Cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, too much food, yelling at someone in anger, slamming a door, posting a nasty comment, ditching school or work, NOT cleaning up your surroundings, neglecting responsibilities, letting people down, being nasty. It’s a long list. You can probably add to it.

What happens when you really do not want to do your homework but you do it anyway? How do you feel that night when you know you’re done? It’s pretty great, right?

Now, what if instead of finding love right now, you are meant to dig deep and work on YOU? What if by focusing now on yourself and your interests and talents you could create a stronger sense of self and ultimately become a better person and, one day when you are ready, a better partner?

Fortify YOU and gift yourself with the strength and pride needed to feel good about yourself in or out of a relationship.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment is a famous test conducted by Walter Mischel when he was a professor at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960s, a group of 4-year olds was given a marshmallow and promised a second marshmallow if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one.

Only one third of the children were able to wait. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Here is a duplicate of that original Marshmallow Test. Warning: This video contains extremely adorable content:

(FloodSanDiego video)

This is Joachim de Posada with a TED Talk on the Marshmallow Experiment:

(Justin Templer video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Marley

Weezy, please help. I’m trying out for cheerleading again. I didn’t make it last year and I was humiliated. It’ll be embarrassing around the girls who did make it last year, and I’m going to be behind on the cheers. I really want to do this. How do I build up self confidence?


You can remind yourself that out here in the real world, nobody cares who made cheerleading. We may care if you wrote a poem or if you taught a 6 year old to tie her shoes or if you served dinner for homeless people.

Yes, it’s great to make cheerleading but it is not a holy blessing that anoints you with super powers. It does not elevate you to a higher life form.

If you are looking into the eyes of someone who appears to think she is better than you by virtue of her already being a cheerleader, then I can promise you that she is fundamentally insecure and immature and she is not worthy of your emotional energy. She doesn’t even know you.

What matters is you becoming a deep, soulful and caring person. You can be that person with or without cheerleading. Nobody in that room is better than you. We are all on this planet together. Now get in there and give it your best!

Here are some cheerleading tryout tips from The Cheernastics:

(TheCheernastics2 video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Chad

The girl I like has a crush on someone else. Should I still tell her that I like her?


That must be up to you, but I will say this: Information is your friend. If you understand that she likes someone else, then there is risk involved. However, knowing that you are an option gives HER information. And as we have identified, info is good.

Her response to learning about your feelings will help you move on accordingly. So, my advice is to casually tell her that you could like her as more than a friend, and then be completely respectful of her response — even if it is breaking your heart. The risk is that this news will forever change your friendship. Be ready for that.

My view, though, is that once you started crushing on her, your friendship was already forever changed. You may as well get your closure.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara​. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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