Jobsandcareer.com organizes the most comprehensive job and career advice/news.
This is a guest post from Ian Newby-Clark ofMy Bad Habits.
Control yourself!” We all say it, mostly to ourselves. We say it when we ‘indulge’ in behaviors that cause short-term gain for long-term pain. And guilt. I cite many of the usual suspects: eating the wrong things, being lazy, staying up too late, drinking too much. There are others, of course. Why do we do such things? After all, aren’t we entirely in control of ourselves all of the time?
Research tells us that willpower is a limited resource. Each of us only has so much of it. The studies demonstrating this are rather ingenious. I will share one of my favorites with you, though there are many more.
You are a student at a mid-Western university and you are in a psychology experiment apparently concerned with taste-testing. The experimenter seats you at a table. In front of you is a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. There is also a plate of radishes. Your stomach is growling because, as instructed, you didn’t eat anything last night.
The experimenter asks you to taste-test the radishes. You are not to taste the cookies. In fact, don’t even touch them! No cookies for you! Next, the experimenter asks you to help out another experimenter with a puzzle experiment. You start working on the puzzle. It’s rather hard …
Times passes …
You are having trouble solving the puzzle. Undeterred, you press on.
More time passes …
You still can’t solve the puzzle! You sometimes get close, but then you make a mistake and start over. Eventually, you give up. When the experiment is over, you learn a couple of interesting facts. First, the two experiments, taste-testing and puzzle-solving, were related. Those sneaky psychologists! Second, some people taste-tested the cookies. Lucky ducks!
Persisting at the frustratingly difficult puzzle takes willpower. But...