Wed, 14 March 2018
Even for the strongest individuals, their commitment level or willpower is not always constant. Willpower is like a battery. As you exercise your willpower throughout the day, the battery power starts to decline. What drains your battery? Fatigue, negative emotions, low blood sugar, suppression of emotions, and even peer pressure will drain your willpower battery faster than anything else.
An interesting study gives more credibility to this idea that willpower may actually be made stronger if given periods of recess. Researchers had college students arrive to participate in an experiment regarding taste perception (or so the students thought). The students were instructed to come to the study hungry by abstaining from foods for three hours prior to their arrival.
When they entered the room, they were greeted by the scent of freshly baked chocolate cookies, which were piled high on a side table, next to a bowl of freshly washed and trimmed radishes. As they entered the room, they were divided into two groups. One group was told they could only eat the chocolate chip cookies and the other only eat the radishes. They were then left alone to walk around the room as they waited for the researchers.
Obviously, the radish group of students had to exercise their willpower to refrain from eating the chocolate chip cookies and only eat the plain radishes. After five minutes, the students were told that they needed to wait for their sensory perception of the food to fade before performing a new task. This next, unrelated assignment (or so they thought) was to solve a puzzle. Unbeknownst to the students, the puzzles were unsolvable. The researchers just wanted to see how fast the subjects would give up on the puzzles.
Remember that the researchers were suggesting that willpower and self-discipline would weaken after doing sequential tasks, much like an overused muscle that has been strained to fatigue or a battery that has lost its charge. In looking at the two groups—one that ate cookies (requiring no willpower) and one that ate radishes (exercising their willpower against the tantalizing cookie smell)—the results proved interesting.
The cookie-eating group worked on the puzzles for 18.54 minutes before they gave up while the radish-eating group worked on the puzzles for only 8.21 minutes before giving up. In other words, the radish group, the one that had exercised willpower, gave up 2.25 times faster than the group that did not exercise any willpower at all. The bottom line is the more we sequentially exercise our willpower, the more we have drained our battery.
Direct download: Podcast_230_-_How_to_Accomplish_10X_more_in_Half_the_Time.mp3
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