Price: $10.29 at Amazon.com
Audio: $24.49 ($17.14 Membership) at Audible.com
Length: 288 pages (8hr 20min Audio)
Publisher: Avery; Reprint edition (December 31, 2013)
Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Table of Contents
- I Will, I Won’t, I Want: What Willpower Is, and Why It Matters
- The Willpower Instinct: Your Body Was Born to Resist Cheesecake
- Too Tired to Resist: Why Self-Control Is Like a Muscle
- License to Sin: Why Being Good Gives Us Permission to Be Bad
- The Brain’s Big Lie: Why We Mistake Wanting for Happiness
- What the Hell: How Feeling Bad Leads to Giving In
- Putting the Future on Sale: The Economics of Instant Gratification
- Infected! Why Willpower Is Contagious
- Don’t Read This Chapter: The Limits of “I Won’t” Power
- Final Thoughts
I have always found the human mind interesting. What makes us who we are today? Why are some people successful and others aren’t? Where does our personality come from? How do we become better people? Before reading this book willpower to me was just some combination or how bad you wanted something and discipline. I loved this book because it blew that assumption straight out of the water.
Kelly McGonigal does a great job in describing what Willpower really is and more importantly, how to get more of it. The all elusive willpower that we all want. Wouldn’t it be great if we always had the willpower to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted? Well, with a better understanding of how willpower works and how to create it we can absolutely have the willpower to accomplish any goal we want.
Some Key Takeaways
- Willpower is like a muscle
For me, this was the biggest takeaway. Just like a muscle willpower can get tired. If you had to use your willpower to resist temptation in the beginning of the day you may lack the motivation to work out at the end of the day. This explains why on somedays you have the motivation to workout and other days you just feel lazy. You have exhausted your willpower.
Similarly, successfully using your willpower to resist the urge for immediate gratification will allow you to have more willpower. Just like a muscle, you can gain more willpower by using your willpower and you can also drain your willpower for the day by using your willpower.
- Why we lose self control
McGonigal talks a lot about the different reasons on why we lose self-control. McGonigal calls one of them ‘License to Sin’ which means that by being good we give ourselves permission to be bad. For example once you go through a heavy workout we often rationalize with ourselves saying “I was good today I deserve this piece of cake”. Now you just regained all the calories you just lost.
Another one is the ‘What the Hell’ effect. If you do indulge in that cake you can also fall into the ‘What the Hell’ effect. This is caused by guilt that you strayed from your goals. Once you feel guilty and you begin to blame yourself you start to feel bad. You feel like you will feel better if you got what you want right now. On top of that you feel like already strayed from your goal so it’s easy to rationalize having ‘just one more’.
- Willpower is Contagious!
This was a very interesting one as well. McGonigal describes how much like a disease can be contagious willpower can infect everybody around you as well. McGonigal recalls a story where often times in the U.S Air Force the cadet who was the least fit often times brought down the fitness levels of the other cadets. We often feel like our willpower can never be influenced by others but this is not the case. Your willpower is not your own and it can be brought down by other people’s willpower as well.
What You Can Learn
- How meditation effects willpower
- How willpower works like a muscle
- Why you lack willpower
- How to get more willpower
- Common willpower traps and how to overcome them
- How willpower is contagious
- The 3 kinds of willpower
- How sleep, nutrition and exercise affect willpower
- How your brain tricks you into indulging
- What dopamine really is.
Who is This Book For?
This book is for anybody who feels like they have no ‘drive’ or anybody who often gives into their temptation. This book will help you understand and control that temptation. People aren’t born with a high willpower of a lack of drive. As with everything willpower is biological. By reading this book you will understand the biology of willpower through countless studies by real doctors. People with a lot of willpower simply have more of these things in their lives. If you can purposely seek out things that increase your willpower and avoid things that reduce your willpower you will inevitably see a change in your ‘drive’.
Just merely reading this book will give you more willpower because you will have a better understanding of how your mind tricks you into indulging. McGonigal discusses a lot of common excuses. When I personally read this book I started to be more conscious of these excuses. I noticed myself going ‘Oh, that’s what she was talking about, I’m doing it right now!’ Just being conscious of these things will allow you to stop yourself from indulging because you sort of ‘see the matrix’.
On top of that McGonigal ends every chapter with a ‘Willpower Challenge’. The challenge either asks you a series of questions to make you more aware how you are lacking willpower in your own life or it will give you practical strategies to improve your self-control. If you become consciously aware of the tricks your brain does and take these challenges seriously there is no way you won’t gain more willpower just from reading this book.
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Have you read this book? Do you agree? Feel free to live your own review or my review below!