Free Willpower


Here I am on a Friday evening, consuming copious quantities of Monster and M&Ms. It’s been a long week. I’m tired. Willpower is waning and I need to fuel myself through one last engineering effort.

Roy Baumeister’s book, Willpower, taught me that self-control is a finite resource, weakened by low blood sugar, PMS, and decision-making processes. You know what depletes willpower the most? The belief that willpower is a limited resource.

When humans are informed of a limitation, the limitation becomes a self-fulfilling excuse. Most of the time, it’s not even correct. How can you know where your limits are unless you exceed them?

I don’t dispute that a human can eventually die of exhaustion, but that hasn’t happened to me yet. The only thing limiting willpower is the belief that it is limited.

See Also:
V. Job, C.S. Dweck, G. Walton. Ego Depletion−−Is It All in Your Head? : Implicit Theories About Willpower Affect Self-Regulation. Psychological Science, 28 September 2010.


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