The One Who Dies with Nothing Wins

Rod Pickett
2 min readJun 5

The sad truth is that too many people delay gratification for too long, or indefinitely. They put off what they want to do until it’s too late, saving money for experiences they will never enjoy.

Bill Perkins, Die with Zero

Have you heard of the marshmallow test?

Young children were given the option of having a single marshmallow now or having two several minutes later.

The hard part was that each child was placed in a room sitting at a table with the single marshmallow in front of them.

According to the study, the child’s ability to delay gratification for the payoff of the second marshmallow was positively correlated to success as an adult.

I had my own test: the Halloween candy test.

I made my candy last until Easter, when I got a new supply of candy.

That may sound impressive, but it wasn’t entirely good.

As an adult, I tend to collect resources and then hesitate to use them in case I might need them in the future.

I had a friend who was a self-made millionaire.

He lived very frugally. Most people had no idea how wealthy he was.

He bought a new car and paid cash for it.

Another friend of his asked, “Why are you being cheap and buying that practical car when you can afford to buy the car you really want? What are you saving your money for?”

My friend took the car back and bought the one he wanted, which was just a Honda CR-V.

Just a few months later, my friend died from complications resulting from a routine medical procedure.

He never really got to enjoy what he had worked so hard to get.

Saving for the future is good, but it is possible to save too much.

Delaying gratification is a powerful ability, but it is possible to delay too long.

Money is a resource.

It is there to be used.

We don’t want to run out of money, but it is of no use to us when we are gone.

We can spend our money on things, and some things can make our lives more enjoyable.

But these things don’t enhance our lives as much as we expect them to.

The best thing we can use our money for is to have shared experiences.

Experiences tend to grow in value over time as we remember them and share those memories with others.

People seem to think the one who dies with the biggest bank account wins.

The truth is that the one who dies with nothing wins.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.