Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Temptation: How much energy spent to guard against it?

Nice popular science writing "Research Shows Temptation More Powerful Than Individuals Realize" ( I read it through )
The study, led by Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School, examined how an individual's belief in his/her ability to control impulses such as greed, drug craving and sexual arousal influenced responses to temptation. The research found the sample, on average, displayed a "restraint bias," causing individuals to miscalculate the amount of temptation they could truly handle, in turn leading to a greater likelihood of indulging impulsive or addictive behavior. 8/3/2009 - The study will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science. Nordgren co-authored the research with Joop van der Pligt and Frank van Harreveld of the University of Amsterdam.

Day #8: varying levels of procrastinationImage by j.lee43 via Flickr

This led me to think about Internet and other distractions in my life - dealing with those temptations. I can see that I have relied too much on just throwing myself into familiar situations, where I have succumbed to coping behaviors instead of doing the work that will help me long term. I have to think about the appropriate amount of energy to spend on maintaining a disciplined state of mind. I can see that my judgement always erred on spending too little energy to maintain a disciplined state of mind. And it is a skill - the capability increases with practice.

Posture Theory DiagramImage by bluelephant via Flickr

And the external appearance of discipline is important too, because the action and the feeling are linked, and the action call call out the fullness of the feeling. Even just a physiological posture can help.
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