Pace your willpower

One take-away from Dan Ariely’s book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty, is that we make worse decisions when we’re stressed. You knew that already but there’s a scientifically proven reason, which is called ego-depletion.

 

What you need to know is that if you have to show serious willpower for a task, cut yourself some slack beforehand.

 

The examples used are around food: to avoid junk food at the end of a hard day, have a smaller treat earlier on; to stick to a diet, follow the ones that build in days off. But I wonder if it also works when dealing with difficult people.

 

If you’ve had to bite your tongue with a difficult boss or customers all day, are you less likely to find the constructive words needed to deal with your mother-in-law? Maybe allowing yourself a rant, to a friend or just a piece of paper, in between those situations would help. Worth a try.

 

http://danariely.com/2012/08/15/understanding-ego-depletion/

 

First published in Issue 11 Widows and Widowers magazine

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