Difficulty: 5/10 (Moderate-Light)
Genre: Psychology, Self Improvement, Behavioral Economics
Main Idea: A total exploration of willpower and how to develop it to help achieve your goals
Recommended For: Everyone (!)
The Willpower instinct originated as a class taught by Stanford psychologist, Kelly McGonigal. The class became super successful over the semesters. They even needed to change to bigger classrooms every semester because the enrollment rose rapidly. This book is the result of that class, and it is awesome
Three Kinds of Willpower
The book starts off exploring what willpower is. Turns out, there are three kinds of willpower: I will power, I won’t power, and I want power. The general belief is that willpower is simply the power to grind through the crap we don’t want to get something we do want. In reality, it is more complex. With ‘I Want’ power, you create a compelling future for yourself which gives you motivation to keep with your goals. With ‘I Won’t’ power, you remember all the bad things you want to avoid. Only ‘I will’ power involves the grind to push through the crap by simply willing it. Having 3 forms of willpower is important because…
Willpower is a Muscle
Hell yea! Studies show willpower is a muscle, and it can be exhausted. Having 3 sources of it to tap into can help you keep going strong.
Stress Kills Willpower
Have you ever come home from work, exhausted, and your whole body aches. You just want to plop down on the couch and lay there forever. What kind of food do you usually go to in this mood? If you have ever experienced stressful days at work, you have experienced the effect it had on your dinner plans. The book also shows how cigarette smoking and take out orders skyrocket during the dreaded finals week across college campuses. But there is a far deadly source of stress, and that is….
Many people sabotage their willpower challenges by stressing themselves out over not exhibiting willpower. The book explores so many interesting studies that prove acceptance of your cravings and lack of action are way better for you than fretting over them. People who stress over what they eat, are way more likely to binge when they give in a little bit and ruin their diet. Procrastinators are likely to procrastinate even more when they feel bad for procrastinating. What a deadly cycle. Haha. The key is to not resist these challenges but to accept their challenging nature and stay clam. Then you are in a better place to make a future decision.
This book is awesome. Being a psychologist, Dr. McGonigal’s material is super well researched. The book is filled with practical and interesting studies and research. The suggestions she gives are helpful. I think this book is a necessary read for anyone who wants to achieve more. There is a great power in understanding yourself, and this book helps you understand you a little better.
“People who have better control of their attention, emotions, and actions are better off almost anyway you look at it.”
“Self control is like a muscle. It gets tired by use, but regular exercise makes it stronger.”
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