Willpower Is A Depleting Resource
Posted on December 18, 2011
I listened to this incredibly interesting talk today about willpower and its overall effectiveness as a resource. Buckle in for this one, because I was completely rocked when I heard this. Not that it was a completely complex topic, but it was just so incredibly fascinating and simple that I never really thought about it before.
Your willpower is depleting as we speak. Not in a total resource depletion kind of way, but in a day-to-day way. You only have so much time and so much effort in one day…so how are you going to spend it. This university did this awesome study where they had two separate groups of people and had one group eat these great delicious chocolate chip cookies, and the other group had to sit there and watch the group eat these cookies because they weren’t allowed to touch them. They gave the group that couldn’t have the cookies a big bowl of radishes right after the cookies were brought out. Then, they gave both groups a test maze and told them to try as many times as they could. The group of individuals who had the cookies tried over and over and over again…up to 50 times! But the group that had the radishes…tried only 4 times until they were pissed off and gave up. What was the cause of this? Their willpower was completely depleted. They had focused so long and so hard on not touching the cookies that when they got to the test they had no effort left in them. So how does this transfer to your life. You have to be your own coach in life…and figure out when you have the most willpower to do things.
So as you could imagine this rocked my world and I looked at my life and how I do things and realized my schedule was completely flipped upside down! I should be working out in the mornings, working on my passion as early in the day as I can, writing, school, the works as early in the day as I possibly can. I have done this next situation so many times. ‘Its late, I just got off work, Im tired…blah blah blah all I want to do is sleep. I should go workout, but but but.’ Well, if I had managed my day better, hell, I would be allowed to go to sleep happy! Keeping this in mind, we also have to listen to the enemy within us. That enemy is the voice saying ‘eat that hamburger, do this, succumb to that.’ And what was incredibly interesting about this talk was the part when he started speaking about how football teams prepare each week for their games. They don’t match their strengths to the other team strengths. They put their strengths against the other teams weaknesses and try to exploit that weak point as much as possible. You have to think this way yourself! If you have a voice saying ‘eat that it looks so tasty,’ just take a second to think about how strong that voice is, duck under it, and realize that you might feel depressed, gross, and farther away from your goals when you eat that. You used the power of your pride to defeat the negative of your ego. That voice inside you is the parasite and it feeds on your weaknesses. But the only way parasites live is by succumbing to it and letting it live off of you. Identify the problem your dealing with, identify the enemy, then come up with a plan of attack where you can match your strengths to its weaknesses. That is how winning is done.
I was talking with someone the other day about the phrase “winning” coined by Charlie Sheen and how right on it was. However crazy he was during his drug stint etc, he hit the nail right on the head. I don’t endorse any of what he did, but I do endorse the phrase. Winning. Win at life, win at challenging yourself every day, win at relationships. Honestly it is just such a great phrase that it should be something you focus on throughout the day. And with the knowledge that your willpower is depleting by the second, you are going to jam your day up in the beginning part of the day and relax towards the end. Of course some days you are going to have more motivation than others, but if you start off your day with the most important things, by god you are going to change fast and become a winning powerhouse.
At the end of the day you can look back and see what you did and where you struggled a little bit. It’s amazing to think of life as a constant learning experience. Every single day thinking of ‘What did I learn? How did I handle this? Who was I today?’ I had a girl ask me the other day “Evan…do you ever have a bad day?” I told her no. I said “I have really bad moments…but they are just moments. I take them for what they are, learn from them, and not let them ruin the rest of my day.” I promise you I am not being fake in saying that. It really is true. Life is too short to be torn down by a situation. If you believe in yourself, in your heart and in your dreams, you will let a moment stay a moment, and enjoy every single second after it.
Constant learning. It is what this whole experience is about for me. Learning something brand new each and every day. Things are great because you made them great, not because they made you. Life life full of passion, heart, and hustle and you will go places. Be your own best coach.
The Better Man Project