To achieve your goals, you probably think you need one key ingredient: willpower. Grit. Self-control. Discipline. To hear a lot of self-improvement gurus tell it, if you want to get your life together, then just get it together. Just do it.
Yet while these motivational calls certainly feel good and make us pump our fists, how well does willpower-ing your way to your goals work in reality?
If you’re like a lot of people, who have a string of half-finished aims heaped in the dustbin of their lives, you know the answer is: “Not very well.”
My guest today argues that there’s a reason for that — that while willpower does have a role in our lives, there’s actually a better source of motivation at our disposal: our emotions.
His name is David DeSteno and he’s the author of the book Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride. Today DeSteno makes the case that cultivating certain feelings will actually enhance our self-control and help us become who we want to be more than simply relying on willpower to get the job done.
Why it’s so hard for us to turn down short-term pleasure for long-term success
Why willpower and self-discipline don’t always work
Where willpower comes from
If rationality and willpower don’t work, what does?
The “moral” emotions
How is it that gratitude can push us to right action?
Is it as simple as keeping a gratitude journal? How can we amp up our daily gratitude?
Why do humans have emotions?
How is compassion different from empathy?
Idiot compassion vs true compassion
Why self-compassion is so important, and how to implement it
The negative health effects of guilt and shame
The positive side of pride
What role do social connections play in all this?
So what role does willpower play?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
The Power of Delayed Gratification
Be Less Disciplined in the New Year
AoM’s series on willpower
My podcast with Jordan Peterson about 12 Rules for Life
Don’t Take Marching Orders From Your Belly
The Spiritual Disciplines: Gratitude
The Power of Wonder
The Marshmallow Test
How to Hack the Habit Loop
A Primer on Meditation
The Benefits of Pride
Begin With the End in Mind
My podcast interview with David Brooks
Google’s research on successful teams
Connect With David
David on Twitter
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