Adam Limehouse writes in about "The Cognitive Costs of Doing Things" -
First off, very cool article.
Second off, I have a question/conflict about the language you used when talking about ego/willpower depletion. I would suggest that instead of talking about it in terms of a battery (something that can be depleted, must be recharged from the outside and eventually wears out) it would be better to approach this in terms of a muscle group many people have allowed to become lax (a virtue ethics perspective if ever there was one). I think the advantage here has to do both with the need for external charging intrinsic in the metaphor of batteries and with the status in most Americans minds of the possibility of becoming physically stronger as something they can do. We might pursue this as a sort of meta-willpower.
Would love to hear your thoughts about this,
I agree, and I think that's a better way of putting it overall. Yes, by spending time working on a kind of will, you build more. So willpower-like-a-muscle is probably a better analogy than willpower-like-a-bettery.
Gosh, I've got such smart readers. Good point here, thanks Adam.
Might be supported by some research too. I read about a psychologist called Roy Baumeister. Headlines being that willpower is easily depleted but trainable. When depleted (e.g. by resisting a cookie) we perfom less well (e.g. on a math test).
Here's a precis of some of his work.
I need to read some of the original work...
In the comments of "Two Videos on How to Do Time Tracking," I got this question from Rohan -
Hi Seb, i too am doing this kind of life tracking but i am not able to do it consistently, a week or max 10 days n then i leave it for weeks...also i dont feel the same energy, for the task that i marked as 'To Do Tommorrow',as i felt when i wrote it! It happens esp on my off days.Its not that i m not disciplined or lack willpower but still.. i read tons of self help books but the motivation doesn't last long.. what shall i do Also what do u think is the real purpose of our life, i want to live a life like no one ever(just diff, simple and worth a life) but i feel like one among the herd! Same things! why am i born?
Okay, so there's two basic questions here.
1. I start off motivated, but then my motivation/program falls off over time. How do I overcome that?
2. What's the meaning of life?
“Ah’ve never seen mist like this befoah,” Molly said, slipping back into her native Southern drawl, as she did whenever particularly impressed by something. She took cares to manage her presentation to appear as respectable and impressive as any of her peers, and though most of that was getting over their biases against the fairer sex (though she wouldn’t go quite so far as to wear pants; first, she was pretty sure that would make them respect her less, and second, she considered it a bit of an uncouth betrayal of femininity), she also spent significant effort disguising her antebellum ancestry. When overwhelmed with awe or surprise, though, her accent shone through. Her Chemistry professor, himself displaced from the Deep South, found this an endearing trait and it had caused him to give her a fairer shake than he would have otherwise (and when he discovered this about himself, he spent a dark night of the soul reexamining his own biases and came out a supporter of the suffragettes, and was willing to go to bat on her behalf should the trepidatious University decide admitting women had been a mistake. The fact that he had come to consider her brilliant was just icing on the cake), though in her ignorance of her own habits she was unaware of her lingual foibles.
“Oh yeah, you’re from den seth, you’ve never seen a winter before,” Jim responded in a terrible imitation of Molly’s accent. She scowled and stuck her tongue out at him. Adam clapped them both on their backs, hard enough to knock them each off balance, and strode forward into the fog. “Come along chaps, we have a luncheon appointment.”
Molly and Jim both scowled at him, then looked at each other and grinned. Adam’s attempt at improving their sense of camaraderie at his own expense had succeeded. They moved on into the fog, Adam turning around so he could face them, walking backwards.
“Aren’t you worried you’ll bump into something?” Adam turned around and stared ahead into the fog. “Oh yes, this is much better, you’re right, I can see so much more now,” he responded in a mocking tone, turning back around. “We’re in the quad, it’s 100 yards to the dining hall, what’s going to-” his explanation was cut short as he tripped over a fallen tree.
He quickly scrambled to his feet and looked down at the tree. It was evident from the exploded side and scorch marks on it that it had been struck down by lightning the night prior. There had been a terrible storm, and some bolts had come closer than comfort truly allowed.