I read a slew of books around willpower, focus and creating habits in a span of a couple of months. By far, this book about willpower was the most interesting and practical.
Here’s my notes:
- You have a limited amount of willpower. It doesn’t matter if you use it up eating well or putting the long hours into work. If you’re using willpower for one thing, cut yourself on other goals as they will inevitable falter.
- Anything that defers from what you really want to do, takes from your willpower supply.
- The more willpower people expend, the more likely they become to yielding to the next temptation that came long. Try to work on one area of your life at one time, not have multiple goals.
- Primates are social beings who have to control themselves in order to get along with the rest of the group. That takes willpower.
- Exercising your willpower in one area of your life, say, correcting your posture, will benefit unrelated areas of your life and increase your stamina. Students that focused on having better posture studied for longer hours and did better at their exams.
- When I did a sugar-free February, I was surprised at how easy it was for me to cut out fried foods as well. So, as long as you keep on working on your willpower, it will grow, like a muscle.
- Of course, meditators have a crazy amount of willpower. The bastards. What is meditation not good for?
- Eat slow-burning foods when you’re hungry. It helps your self-control, concentration and control of negative emotions. Wow.
- Never, ever, work on big problems when you’re hungry. You’ll be compromising in ways that could be detrimental.
- Get rid of small distractions – you have to save your well of willpower from leaking from a hundred small gaps.
- Booze doesn’t make us stupid. It inhibits self-awareness and social rules. So you’re essentially being yourself without social inhibitions.
- When you have a huge decision to make: eat some healthy food, wait an hour then make the decision. It won’t seem so bad.
During a study where two groups of people were encouraged to write a page a day or binge write a giant piece, the group that wrote a page a day had done better than the binge writers. So whatever you’re working on, work on it consistently.