Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interesting link: Lack of Sleep and Self-Control

This article on PsyBlog is focused on eating habits, but it's not too hard to see it stretching to self-control/willpower in general.   From their findings, it looks like being short on sleep makes the more instant-gratification focused parts of the brain more active and the more forward-looking, self-controlling parts less so.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Interesting link: Game Theory and the Price is Right.

Not sure what Bob Barker would say, but this was an interesting article in Slate by Ben Blatt about applying game theory to the games in the Price is Right.  (First up was the "bid a dollar more than the other guy" approach)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interesting Link: Negotiation and Cupcakes

I saw this over on The Negotiation Blog  and it covered two of my pet topics, Negotiation and Willpower

The punchline is that your willpower/mental energy depletes glucose, so giving in to another temptation (like the cupcakes) helps avoid further depletion (and in the case of food-based indulgences, restores glucose).  The whole willpower-as-a-muscle analogy seems to be getting a lot of support by recent experiments..

(added bonus:  Dan Green has an excellent podcast (ConMan Talk) about various conflict management techniques.  I recommend it to anyone who has to interact with other humans)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Interesting Link: The Secret to Success

Laura Vanderkam had an interesting article in Fortune about using accountability to force yourself to do the important-but-not-urgent things in your life.  Nothing earthshaking, but the key is that the accountability partner should be someone whose opinion you care about.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Inertia -or- the Bed Paradox

"Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it." - Sir Isaac Newton

Even if they don't put a name to it, everyone has an intuitive feel for the effect of inertia (which is pretty much just a lack of any other effect).  If I set a bag down, i don't expect it to start moving for no reason.  When I approach a stop light, I know it will take a little bit of distance to stop because the car wants to continue moving forward.

I see the same effect in myself when it comes to sleeping, and a lot of other things.  If I'm awake, I want to stay that way. There's a reason people shell out good money to sell Real-Estate-Secret-System-To-Make-More-Money-Than-Buffett-For-No-Money-Down at 3 am in the morning. I am that reason.  On the flip side, it takes the threat of impending job loss and homelessness to get me out of bed in the morning.  It takes every ounce of willpower to get out of that same bed I was avoiding just 6 short hours earlier..

The effect seems to be the same in a lot of ways.  House/yard/career work, exercise,  healthy eating, etc.  I'm pretty good at maintaining them, but getting started is a bear.

I guess the million dollar question is - how do I/we overcome it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Interesting Link: Stuff You Should Know

This is one of my favorite podcasts.  Their recent willpower podcast was right down the middle of my interests and they did a good job of explaining.  They, too, seem to subscribe to the "willpower as a muscle" model.