Why willpower is overrated


The famous marshmallow experiment showed that children who showed self-restraint went on to do better in their lives. But, what if people who look like they are resisting the temptation are not actually feeling the temptation that strongly in the first place.

If resisting temptation is a virtue, then more resistance should lead to greater achievement, right? That’s not what the results, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Sciencefound.

The students who exerted more self-control were not more successful in accomplishing their goals. It was the students who experienced fewer temptations overall who were more successful when the researchers checked back in at the end of the semester. What’s more, the people who exercised more effortful self-control also reported feeling more depleted. So not only were they not meeting their goals, they were also exhausted from trying.

The complete article

Brian Resnick — Vox

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3 thoughts on “Why willpower is overrated

  1. I can definitely relate to this. There are times where fighting to “not” do something can become very taxing, and the mind has limits.

  2. Thank you for finding a most interesting article. There is some truth in what it says. When I’m writing, and getting on well, I don’t think about eating chocolate or stopping for a cup of tea. I just write, but when I’ve not got anything to do, or am stuck in my work, then I reach for the kettle or the dreaded chocolate!

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