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How to overcome the passion for momentary pleasure



How to overcome the passion for momentary pleasure

How to overcome the passion for momentary pleasure

“Eat another slice of cake and go on a diet tomorrow.” “I will allow myself to rest once more, and I will go to the gym from Monday.” “Five more minutes on social media and I will definitely start working.” Who among us did not make such promises to ourselves, unable to cope with momentary pleasures?

It turns out that the reason we prioritize immediate gains rather than long-term rewards is because we have a poor vision of the future. So says Kelly McGonigal, author of the best-selling book Willpower. Our imaginations fail us and we betray our goals. To deal with this, you must first of all get to know your future self. Here are four practices to help you do this.

Chimpanzee experiment

In 2007, scientists conducted an experiment between chimpanzees and students at Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. All participants were asked to choose between two and six favorite edible awards. It was not difficult: both humans and chimpanzees believed that six was better than two.

Then the task was complicated. Each contestant was given the option to eat two treats at once, or wait two minutes and get six. Thus, scientists set out to compare the degree of self-control in humans and apes.

The results were quite unexpected. Although both monkeys and humans preferred six treats rather than two, if they didn’t have to wait, their decisions differed when they had to be patient. Chimpanzees expected more rewards 72% of the time. And students – only 19% of the time.

Looking for an explanation

How can this discrepancy be explained? Do chimpanzees have a secret source of self-control? It’s probably not that simple, suggests Kelly McGonigal. The developed frontal lobe in humans is not only responsible for self-control. She can come up with rational excuses for bad decisions and promise that tomorrow we will do things differently.

We are people, we can promise ourselves that we will improve in the future, and at the moment give preference to momentary pleasure.


Economists call this depreciation upon delay — the longer the reward has to wait, the less it is appreciated.

In behavioral economics, this is called bounded rationality: we are rational until we have to act. We think well about everything in theory, but when we are faced with temptation, the brain goes into the mode of seeking rewards and makes sure that we do not miss it.

Deep down, each of us wants to resist temptation. But, as soon as the reward is in front of us, we literally go crazy with desire. This leads to limited self-control.

What to do about it?

Kelly McGonigal offers four basic practices to help you fight temptations of the moment. You can choose one of them, or try to apply all at once.

  1. Wait 10 minutes

10 minutes is not the longest time. But, as neuroscientists have found, it is this time that can change the way we view pleasure. The most powerful impulse is the instant reward. The value of a cookie that needs to wait 10 minutes is greatly reduced.

If you need to make a cold-blooded and considered decision, just wait 10 minutes

The same rule works in the opposite direction. If you have to do something unpleasant, just do not put it off by promising yourself to devote only 10 minutes to the task. As time passes, you will most likely join the stream and want to continue, if not, then at least take the first step in an important matter.

1) lower your discount percentage

People tend to devalue future goods, but everyone chooses their own discount percentage. Someone is not ready to throw off a percentage for the main goal. Others cannot resist momentary pleasure and make discounts on their goals up to 90%.

The amount of your discount percentage determines how healthy and successful you will be.

It is important for us not to make discounts for a better future. The following techniques will help with this:

  • Rethink the situation: not “I am acquiring something now instead of getting more later,” but “I refuse the future good for the sake of momentary pleasure.”
  • Imagine that you already have the delayed reward. How will you reap the benefits of your endurance?
  • Ask yourself: Are you willing to give up on this for any fleeting pleasure that tempts you now?


2. Establish obligations for the future self

Fear, fatigue, momentary temptations can easily knock down our “I”, which sets off on the road to wonderful goals. To prevent this, we must not leave our “I” the path to retreat.

The following techniques will help with this:

  • Create a new rule for yourself. Make decisions in advance, before “I” is blinded by temptations. For example, order yourself a healthy lunch before you get really hungry.
  • Don’t change your mind. Get rid of all the temptations: remove social media apps from your phone, do not carry credit cards with you, set an alarm in another room to be sure to pick it up.

There is a beautiful legend about Hernan Cortes, the conqueror of South America. He knew that his warriors would surely be tempted to flee the battlefield if left with such a loophole. And therefore he ordered to set fire to the ships on which the conquistadors sailed to the shores of Mexico – now the conquerors had no other option but to go forward.

  • Use the carrot and stick method. You can open a tote that you will not gain weight, or donate money to charity when you do not achieve your goals, or you can add “fines” for momentary pleasures. The loss of defeat will make the momentary pleasure less seductive.

3. Get to know your future self

We tend to think of ourselves in the future exclusively in a positive way. Your future self is much more willing to go to the gym than you are now. Will order a salad in a cafe, not a burger. Clean up the closet instead of spending the day off watching TV shows. He always has more time, strength and will.

We tend to protect our real selves from difficulties and overload future selves, as if they were some kind of strangers.

In addition, when we think about ourselves in the present and in the future, we use different areas of the brain. Why care for the welfare of someone detached in the future when there are current needs? That is why it is so important to get to know your future self better. Here are three techniques to help you do this:

  • “Remember” the future. Thinking ahead often helps to delay pleasure. Imagine yourself in a grocery store or at a scheduled meeting – and the brain will more accurately calculate the consequences of current decisions.
  • Send a message to the future self. There are many services that allow you to do this: or Think about what the future self will think about the decisions being made right now? For what actions will he thank you?
  • Imagine the future self. In one experiment, sleepers were asked to imagine either a positive future self that regularly plays sports and is healthy, or a negative one that is sedentary and suffering from sores. Both pictures lifted people off the couches.

Based on the book “Willpower”

How to overcome the passion for momentary pleasure

Cover photo from here

#Personal effectiveness #Motivation #Productivity

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What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners



What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners


What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

Man is a social being, for his survival, he needs a group. Unsurprisingly, a large proportion of our instincts and programmed behaviors are geared toward building intragroup relationships — collaboration and competition for resources. There are three basic strategies for this interaction: take, give and exchange. More details – in this material, prepared according to the book “Find a Mentor“.

Three strategies

Find a mentor

Depending on the circumstances, we can use any of the three strategies, but, as a rule, each of us has one that we prefer.

“Exchangers” – these are those who act on the principle “I give, so that you give me too.” They are the majority in society. Their focus is justice.

“The takers” – focused on maximizing their own benefits in a relationship. The interests of others do not bother them.

Finally, there is also “Givers” – these people are focused on selfless help to others. Their focus is relationships.

What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

Which of these strategies is more winning? Based on the research data, the following can be said. In the early stages, the takers are the most successful, while the givers are the outsiders.

As you move up, the picture changes to the opposite. There are almost no “takers” at the heights of success. But among those who have achieved outstanding results, there are unexpectedly many “giving”. The “exchangers” show stable average results at all levels.

People who are focused on their own benefit rarely reach the top. The reasons for this are obvious. A systematic disregard for the interests of others alienates those around them and increases hostility. In other words, within the framework of this strategy, each subsequent step repels friends and multiplies enemies. As a result, sooner or later, a person remains alone. It’s good if by that time he manages to reach the top.

But even so, success often looks like this: you are sitting in a tree, under which a pack of hungry wolves has gathered.

Another strategy of greatest interest is “give”. According to research conducted, most selfless and selfless altruists who are concerned about the welfare of others and are willing to help them to the detriment of their own interests are losers, which seems quite natural. On the other hand, it is the “givers” who achieve the greatest successes.

What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

Key factor

Why? Is this a game of chance, or is there some factor that distinguishes successful givers from unsuccessful ones? Such a factor really exists. And this is your environment. Both are equally trying to help everyone and do not expect immediate rewards. Both those and others in response receive the sympathy and approval of others. Some of them seek to provide a reciprocal service – they are “exchangers”. Some take advantage of the value they receive without considering it necessary to give something in return – these are the “takers.”

The difference between losers and winners is what happens next.

The loser continues to help everyone equally. And here everything depends on the case – how many “takers” will be in his environment. If not enough, he will survive. If there is a lot, it will quickly lose all resources and opportunities for growth. The winner, on the other hand, knows how to identify the “takers” and remove them from his circle, so a network is gradually formed around him, which together brings him more than he put into its formation. From some point on, it becomes a key success factor. And the sooner he learns to do this, the higher his chances of achieving outstanding results.

Prepared according to the book “Find a Mentor“.

What is the Difference Between Losers and Winners

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