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The power of willpower

February 24, 2012

(Picture Credits to the BBC Good Food

It’s Lent again, which means I’ve given up chocolate for 40 (ish) days.  To prove I can more than any particular religious leanings.

Talking about this with friends last night, I remembered this fascinating article about how willpower works, and how it is connected to our decision-making process, or immune system, and even how much sleep we’ve had.

Two things that occurred to me:

1. Will delayed gratification ever catch on with ‘Generation Right Now This Minute’?  If you need to practice willpower in order to be able to get good at it, where’s the motivation for a generation of people who’ve been brought up to believe that they can have whatever they what, whenever they want?

This is something I’ve been thinking about more and more recently – especially the pace that new products, upgrades and technology are released into the market.  Whatever happened to waiting patiently for something to be released – a book, a game, a new technology.  With Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer and Treyarch (and others where necessary) both working on COD there’s no gap to create anticipation (or a much shorter, more frenzied period).  Where’s the pressure to get good at waiting, to use your willpower?

I’d be interested to know how many people do try and give something up for Lent.  And related to my last post – is it just the people who know that they can.  The people who think they might fail at it won’t try anyway.

2. Secondly, and more practically, is this research proof that any attempt to give up chocolate is doomed?  I read this as meaning that we really we need to eat chocolate in order to be able to resist it…

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