You are given two options: receive one dollar now or wait a week to receive two dollars. What did you choose? Your choice can tell a lot about you. It illustrates if you have the willpower to delay gratification, wait a week to get the two dollars, or if you prefer immediate satisfaction, take that dollar and go. Did you chose to delay gratification? If yes, then you most-likely have the willpower you need to succeed.
Those who give in to temptation and chose an instant reward can have more behavioral and attention deficits issues and are found to be less successful overall. According to a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, Angela Duckworth, self-discipline is more important than IQ in predicting academic success.
Children with less self-control are twice as likely to have health problems in their 30’s and are three times more likely to have substance addictions and crime convictions.
All of us could benefit from improving our self-control and willpower. The more willpower we have, the better choices we make and the more it help us in the future.
Willpower—the ability to resist short-term enticements in order to meet long-term goals—has been scientifically proven to help you succeed. But those are just the facts.
What does willpower really mean? Well, it’s different for everyone. For me, willpower, is having the power to take control of your life for the better and choose right from wrong. It is being able to control choices in order to achieve an important goal. It is a protection that keeps you from giving in to procrastination.
Let’s say you have an essay due in History tomorrow but your favorite movie is on TV. Instead of choosing to watch the movie and waste two hours, you use your willpower to turn off that TV and write your History paper.
There are many ways to overcome temptations and increase your willpower. Here are some techniques I find useful:
Invent ways to outsmart that part of you that wants the immediate satisfaction. So, instead of watching the movie try telling yourself things like, “Oh, I can rent that movie later,” or, “If I finish this paper NOW, I’ll get a better grade.”
Believe it or not, positive thinking can actually help you have more self-control. A notable example of this is the difference between telling yourself “I can’t” and “I don’t.” Every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your weaknesses. This phrase indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. Just changing the term you use when saying something can make a big difference.
Develop Concrete Longterm Goals
Think about your goals and what would most help you achieve them in the long run. This will help you choose the best option for yourself and others.
Willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.