Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • A couple days ago I proudly showed my girlfriend this expensive piece of tupperware I got.

  • You put something in it, set a timer and then it stays locked until the time runs out.

  • I told her I had been playing this video game too much and now I can keep myself from playing

  • by putting the game in this 60 dollar piece of plastic.

  • She was a little concerned, asking meCan't you just resist playing?”

  • "I'm listening, and it says: I'm a piece of crap."

  • What's funny is I actually saw this thing on Shark Tank a while back and had the same

  • reaction - "I think I'll save my money and not eat the cookies."

  • This video is not an advertisement for this, but it begs an interesting question.

  • What's the difference between successfully resisting a temptation and just not having

  • a temptation?

  • Maybe you've heard of the Stanford Marshmallow experiment.

  • Researchers thought torturing kids would be fun, so they sat kids down in front of a marshmallow

  • and an told them: “I'm going to leave the room.

  • If you don't eat the marshmallow, you'll get another one when I come back so you'll

  • get to have two.”

  • And then they left and watched the kids with a hidden camera for about 10 minutes.

  • The kids stared at the marshmallow, held it in their hands, sniffed it and even snuck

  • a lick or two.

  • Maybe unsurprisingly only 1/3rd of the kids could resist the marshmallow long enough for

  • the person got back and then get the second marshmallow.

  • "This little girl was interesting.

  • She ate the inside of the marshmallow.

  • She wanted us to think that she had not eaten it so she would get two, but she ate it!"

  • Whether the kids did or didn't eat it, I think you'd agree they're clearly exerting

  • effort to resist the marshmallow.

  • A single marshmallow is an easy task for adults, but we still use effort to resist things.

  • An alcoholic resisting a fully stocked mini fridge in his hotel room uses a lot of effort,

  • and then others would use far less effort to resist watching another episode of a good

  • series when it's time to go to bed.

  • So, is there a consequence of resisting temptations even if you succeed?

  • A famous experiment by Roy Baumeister and colleagues had 67 participants who hadn't

  • eaten for at least 3 hours walk into a room filled with the aroma of just baked chocolate

  • chip cookies.

  • They sit down to a table with two bowls - one filled with warm gooey chocolate chip cookies

  • and one filled with radishes.

  • Half of the people were told they had to eat radishes and couldn't eat the cookies.

  • Afterwards they had the poor radish people and the lucky cookie people work on a mentally

  • stressing puzzle.

  • The puzzle was actually impossible.

  • The point was to see how long people would try to do it.

  • The radish people gave up on the puzzle almost twice as fast.

  • On average they quit more than 10 minutes faster than the cookie people.

  • The idea is that the radish people were tired from using their willpower on resisting cookies,

  • so they had less willpower to use on the puzzle.

  • This is just one of almost 200 experiments that gave credibility to the concept ofego

  • depletion” - the idea that willpower draws on a limited stock of energy, willpower is

  • like a muscle - you can tire it out.

  • So if you use a bunch of willpower on one thing, then you have less willpower to use

  • later on resisting temptations, staying focused or even making good decisions.

  • Now this idea was challenged by a 2015 paper, but a more recent 2018 paper said Yes Ego

  • depeltion is a thing, some methods are just effective for testing it and some are not.

  • In any case, I think we intuitively know that temptations are distracting.

  • It's going to be at least a little harder to focus on your work if you're on a diet

  • and your friend is baking pies and cookies.

  • Or it'll be hard to study if it's Friday night and your friends keep texting you to

  • come to a party.

  • An experiment from a 2012 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology had 205

  • adults wear a beeper that would ask them randomly throughout the day whether they were resisting

  • a desire, how strong that desire was, and whether they were successful in resisting

  • or not.

  • They then took a look at the data of nearly 8000 desire reports and found that the more

  • desires the person had resisted, the more likely they were to give into future desires.

  • This kinda makes sense.

  • Let's say you have a long day work.

  • Unless you really like your job, for the most part you are resisting desires.

  • Resisting the desire to skip the 10AM meeting, or the desire to play games on your phone

  • instead of actually working, or the desire to take an extra long lunch break or resisting

  • the desire to just go home early.

  • We might say that using all that willpower throughout the day then makes it harder to

  • resist the desire to watch Netflix on the couch instead of going to the gym.

  • But here's what's interesting.

  • In the study, the people who were best at self-control and said they were good at resisting

  • temptations, they actually reported experiencing fewer temptations throughout the study.

  • That is the diligent people with high self control apparently were just using less self

  • control.

  • In a study titled What's so great about Self Control, Marina Milyavskaya and Michael

  • Inzlicht gathered data from 159 University students and found that those exerting more

  • self-control were not more successful in achieving their goals.

  • It was the people who planned their life so they didn't have to use self-control were

  • more successful.

  • So the difference between me and successful actor Tom Cruise is that while I'm figuring

  • out how to resist the temptation to play video games, he would just throw them away.

  • Since I've been working at home most of the time lately, playing Smash Brothers is

  • always an option.

  • Because that option is always there, I'm a little distracted by it.

  • I'll be a bit tired from reading papers or getting frustrated because I can't think

  • of what to write next and then I'll be bargaining with myself like OK I'll play for just twenty

  • minutes and then work for an houror maybe play for 10 minutes then 30 imuntes - so regardless

  • of whether or not resisting the temptation depletes mywillpower energy,” just being

  • tempted to play is at least distracting me.

  • This lowers my focus and worsens my productivity even though I'm not actually playing.

  • Work by Glenn Wilson of Gresham College has found that when you're trying to focus on

  • a task, even the simple temptation of an unread email sitting in your inbox reduces your effective

  • IQ by 10 points.

  • Only being tempted by wanting to check a shiny new email impairs your brain's performance.

  • In James Clear's book Atomic Habits, he explains there is a four part habit cycle.

  • The cue, craving, response and reward.

  • First there's the cue.

  • Let's say you're at the office, it's 10:30 A.M., you're a little bored, tired

  • and unfocused.

  • This feeling feeling is a cue for a craving for coffee.

  • In response to the craving you get up and get a cup of coffee.

  • You are then rewarded for your behavior with the energy and the nice taste the coffee provides.

  • James Clear says that a habit will start to fall apart if one or some of these parts are

  • missing.

  • Let's say you start sleeping properly.

  • 10:30 rolls around, but you're awake and alert so there's no cue for coffee.

  • Or let's say you're at the office, you feel tired but you respond to the cue differently

  • - you take a walk instead of coffee.

  • Or let's say you start drinking decaf coffee - you respond to your craving by grabbing

  • a cup of coffee, but it doesn't have that nice caffeine reward.

  • Any of these should help to weaken the habit.

  • Clear says a really effective way for breaking bad habits is just make the cue weaker or

  • more obscured.

  • If seeing cookies cues a craving to eat cookies, just put them where you can't see them or

  • don't buy them.

  • If you're trying to focus, just turn your phone off instead of resisting the temptation

  • to check your phone when you get a notification.

  • Rather than trying to exert more willpower, you can just strategize or plan better.

  • Going back to the Marshmallow study, they found that kids who successfully resisted

  • the marshmallow were more successful later in life.

  • They were more confident, more reliable, less likely to become obese and even got better

  • SAT scores.

  • But what how did the successful kids do it?

  • Did they just grit their teeth and fearlessly stare the marshmallow down?

  • Not quite.

  • As reported in one of the original studies investigating this, the successful kids “… covered

  • their eyes with their hands…" so they couldn't see it, " they talked to themselves, they

  • sang, invented games with their hands and feet…”

  • They did whatever they could to take their mind off the marshmallow and didn't rely

  • so much on brute willpower.

  • Similarly, what's going to put fattening foods on your mind more - taking the route

  • home where you walk past the delicious smelling bakery or taking a different route home?

  • What's going to have an alcoholic thinking about alcohol more?

  • Booking a hotel with a stocked mini fridge or booking one without?

  • In my last video I talked about how having so many choices of things to do all the time

  • can cause a persistent feeling of indecision or uncertainty: Should I do my work or play

  • smash brothers, should I work out or watch Netflix or do my taxes?

  • Each action provides a reward for a cost.

  • Taxes costs a lot of time and boring decision making but rewards me no more worries of huge

  • fines.

  • Netflix costs time but rewards me with immediate enjoyment.

  • From your brain's perspective, the action that provides the most reward for the cost

  • is not 100% clear.

  • And as I explained last time, this indecisiveness, this uncertainty can activate the brain in

  • a way generates anxiety and lowers your ability to focus.

  • So, at least for me, when I remove one of the choices by locking it in this box- it

  • feels like my brain stops doing all those calculations and I'm more relaxed and more

  • focused.

  • I would have thought I would still want to play the game but just be annoyed that it's

  • stuck in the box, but oddly enough I just forget about it.

  • Another thing I've been using is this app for mac called Self Control.

  • You just add websites you don't want to be able to access to a list and then you can't

  • access them.

  • This too is really effective and helps me relax and focus with no extra effort spent

  • on resisting watching How to get away with Murder.

  • We always have tons of choices throughout the day- should I do this or that or just

  • do this for a little bit and then do that productive thing?

  • A simple way to reduce that uncertainty and indecision and stop being distracted by these

  • choicesis to make the choices you don't want to make harder or simply delete them

  • - Use

  • less willpower, not more.

A couple days ago I proudly showed my girlfriend this expensive piece of tupperware I got.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US resisting willpower marshmallow desire resist temptation

Willpower is for Losers

  • 36 1
    Prova posted on 2020/07/15
Video vocabulary