Chapter 8 of Indistractable

Chapter 8, Reimagine Your Temperament

I don't quite agree with this chapter - perhaps the author and I are not defining terms in the same way. One of the things I disagree with is the notion that willpower is limitless. I know that as I get to the end of the day, I don't do the best decisions due to tiredness. I can't force myself to play hours of piano.

Or am I confusing willpower with mental clarity or endurance? The definition of willpower is "control exerted to do something or restrain impulses." It definitely is more difficult to avoid bad choices earlier in the day, or when you are having a good day. Or is willpower more like a muscle? People who have a lot of innate willpower, or get a lot of practice using their willpower seemingly have no problem at all saying no to things they know is bad for them but has short term pleasure, like ice cream.

The author read books by Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, who argued that signs of ego depletion were only found in people believed willpower was limited. I guess I'll have to read one of her books to see what she means exactly about ego depletion and willpower. I mean, I've heard of "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right" but not expecting people to get tired after exerting energy seems very wrong.

Chapter 8 Summary:


  • Reimagining our temperament can help us manage our internal triggers.
  • We don't run out of willpower. Believing we do makes us less likely to accomplish our goals by providing a rationale to quit when we could otherwise persist.
  • What we say to ourselves matter. Labeling yourself as having poor self-control is self-defeating.
  • Practice self-compassion. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. People who are more self-compassionate are more resilient. 


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