We talk a lot about boosting self control and willpower, but The Wall Street Journal suggests that people who seem to exert the best self-control tend to avoid tempting situations altogether.
Picture: Joel Mondes de Oca/Flickr
In an upcoming study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers looked at various ways students deal with temptation and self-control. The Wall Street Journal breaks it down like so:
The students were told they would be solving an anagram and could work in a noisy student lounge or wait for a quiet lab that wasn't immediately available. Of those with below-average self-control, 37% chose the lab and 63% chose the lounge. By comparison, 53% of the subjects with above-average self-control chose the lab and 47% chose the lounge.
The finding suggests high self-control is associated with avoiding, rather than overcoming, distraction, the researchers said.
Willpower is a delicate topic, and this study is by no means a definitive look at self-control. But it does raise a particularly good point: It's not always about boosting your self-control, it's about actively avoiding situations where you have to exert it. Knowing your triggers, both good and bad, should help you avoid those moments where your willpower is challenged.
The Secret to Resisting Temptation [The Wall Street Journal]