Week 27: Willpower as a muscle

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How does a mechanic solve the problem? He begins by trying to identify the specific conditions that trigger the noise. Is there a screech when the car is accelerating, or when it’s shifting gears, or turning at slow speeds? Unless the mechanic can give the screech a context, he’ll never find the broken part.
— One of Walter Mischel's favourite Metaphors

The last week I had been feeling a bit demotivated and unsure on work to be completed. While there had been work to do, unconsciously I perhaps realised that it didn't completely align with my goals. Instead of doing art work, I would instead begin learning trumpet and guitar. I would look into rap. I would be doing things that did not move me forward in my immediate career path (Something I currently value for financial reasons).

To remedy this I have re-evaluated my one year goals, and hence been able to narrow my short term goals.

Furthermore, I had noticed my willpower had also been declining. Something that needs to remain high.

To hone my willpower I've been training through exercise.

Something as simple as setting a goal of 100 situps in a row is challenging. Even though my body would like to give up at 20, I push through, I struggle. After the session I can be satisfied with the strife. The next day, body soreness acts as confirmation of struggle and success.

The willpower and satisfaction then transfer to my work. I become more motivated when doing tasks. The previous exercise literally tells my body through soreness "You are growing". It's reassuring and motivating. There's a feeling of growth and improvement carried into the work I do. It makes the challenge of work more appetising to conquer.

I've been understanding for myself the idea of "Willpower as a muscle". I've known this idea for awhile, but these last few days I've been putting it into action. So far it's worked out well.

'Till next time!
-Mark

[1]: Walter Mischel Quote: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/05/18/dont-2

A good read on willpower: Don’t! The secret of self-control. Jonah Lehrer http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/05/18/dont-2