Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Greatest Human Strength...

I was listening to NPR and specifically "The Splendid Table" this past weekend and heard an interesting interview with Roy F. Baumeister concerning his book, "Willpower, Greatest Human Strength. "

It was so interesting. He cited a study done quite a few years ago--maybe 30--where children were taken one by one into a room and a marshmallow was placed in front of them and they were told if they didn't eat it for 10 minutes [or some such length of time] they could have two. The study was to see how many kids resisted the temptation to eat it and what the successful ones did.

Interestingly enough, the ones who resisted looked away and distracted themselves. Years later they looked at the lives of the kids in the study and the ones who practiced the most self control as children were the ones who were happier as an adult [rated by job satisfaction, longevity and happiness of marriage, parenting, and so on].

This led the author to state that "intelligence and willpower" are the two main attributes of successful/fulfilled people. If you have willpower you will probably no cheat on your spouse, do well in work, be healthier, etc. Intelligence without willpower is not as important as willpower with lesser intelligence. Interesting, don't you think?

He went on to relate how glucose and regular sleep seems to be what fuel the body/mind to have willpower. That is why it probably is not the best idea to try to resist an amazing dessert when you are tired and hungry.

As a homeschool parent, I think this is really something to ponder. You can't really do a lot about your child's intelligence, but I think we can help our kids learn how to strengthen their self control. The authors suggest that it is like a muscle and needs to be flexed in order to become stronger.

I haven't read the book, but I am did place a hold on it at our library. Intelligence and Self-Control [Willpower], it makes sense, doesn't it?

Take care,

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