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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Building Your Willpower

The author of numerous books, including work with the Dalai Lama titled Destructive Emotions, as well as other books such as Emotional Intelligence, the business book based on it: Primal Leadership, as well as Social Intelligence and the newly released Ecological Intelligence, bestselling Daniel Goleman now offers his views on the fact that new research from the field of neuroscience indicates that we can build our willpower.
That is excellent news for all procrastinators, all those who lack discipline, as well as many others who don't necessarily lack this magical element that does so much to move life forward, but who would like a larger helping of it.
The article originally appeared in the Greater Good Magazine, but I found it in the online website Sharp Brains I have referred to in the past on this blog.
These are the main points made in the article:
  • we each have a fixed neural reservoir of willpower, and that if we use it on one thing, we have less for others. Tasks that demand some self-control make it harder for us to do the next thing that takes willpower
  • But we can grow our willpower; like a muscle, the more we use it, the more it gradually increases over time. But doing this takes, of all things, willpower. As the muscle of will grows, the larger our reservoir of self-discipline becomes.
  • most of us learned that we have a fixed number of brain cells when we are born, and that we lose them steadily until we die, but brain science now tells us the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, and that they migrate to where they are needed. Once there, each cell makes around 10,000 connections to other brain cells over the successive four months.
  • a key site for helping us build willpower the left pre-frontal cortex - contains a neural circuit in that inhibits emotional impulse, and that can be strengthened by a range of methods
  • one of these methods is mindfulness training

See these posts from my blog about mindfulness training:

I highly encourage you to read this entire fascinating and inspiring article by Daniel Goleman by clicking here

Photo: Botswana

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