Steven Pinker is an American scientist who was gained renown by explaining how to the mind works to lay people in an accessible and insight full way. He has done this through his books and presentations
In his recent review of the book “Willpower” he summarizes some of the state-of-the-art thinking about willpower.
- Since the 1960s the recorded use of the phrase “Willpower” has fallen dramatically. Willpower as a concept is out of favor. Willpower is a concept that would be presented to someone living in the 1930s far more than it’s presented to someone living today.
- Willpower has been shown to be very important. The classic and often cited work done by Walter Mischel demonstrated that on average people who could delay gratification at age 4 went on to have much more satisfied and successful lives than those who could not delay gratification. (In on particular experiment a 4 year olds were given the choice of one marshmallow now or a wait of 15 minutes for two marshmallows.)
- The idea of “fighting” to stay on the right path, the idea that willpower is a “force”, seems to have some validity.
- Studies have shown that willpower can be fatigued just like a physical muscle. After your willpower has been under heavy strain it weakens.
Sugar was seen to provide a short term boost to willpower, just as it provides a short term energy boost to the physical body.
Willpower can be stregnthened by exercise. Studies were performed in which people on a regimen on recording their habits or regular exercise were found to have increased their willpower endurance, their willpower fatigued less easily that before their regimen.
The book suggest building up willpower with small regular exercises.
You can check out the review here.
Procrastination has nothing to do with disciplining yourself or ‘just doing it’
This is the most common misconception about procrastination and will instead achieve exactly the opposite of what you want.
Let me explain:
The reason why human-beings procrastinate is to feel in control of their life.
The act of rebelling against an oppressor, an authorative figure telling you what to do, is your way of regaining mastery over your own fate.
Very much the same way kids throw a tantrum when their parents order them to do something,
the procrastinator puts off tasks because he has come to harbor resentment against the thing to be done.
Why, you ask? Because in your admirable will and ambition to achieve your goals, rather ironically, you have created the only
thing that can stop you from reaching your goals: a separate mental authority figure causing unneccessary internal strife.
You have created a bully out of yourself.
Start listening to the way you talk to yourself; Instead of punishing yourself for not following up on things, you need to learn to let loose.
Adopt the belief that you have the natural tendency to work productively and act creatively.
Nobody needs to man up, shape up, or be disciplined. Stop framing the world as if it is a constant struggle to get things done, instead start viewing life
as a sequence of awesomely fun and exciting things to work on.
Edo van Royen
He’s a success, there’s no doubt about that.
He’s a self aware success as well, which I guess is to be expected from a stand up comedian.
Back in the day when the Seinfeld TV show was just kicking off a young comedian asked Jerry for advice on how to get ahead.
Jerry said “the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day”.
The comedian recalls…
“He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.”
I am pretty sure that Jerry would appreciate what we are doing with habitmix and how it can help people improve their lives.
Story on Lifehacker
The young comedian involved
I have decided to get rid of the 30 day free trial and just make an absolutely free version of HabitMix available to everyone, with no expiration. The free account will probably handle most peoples needs, but for those individuals who want a little more detail in tracking their habits and goals, there will also be a premium version available. Below is a comparison of the two, click here to get your FREE account now :