405 | You Don’t Have As Much Willpower As You Might Think Part 1

Today’s episode is you don’t have as much willpower as you might think part 1!

Willpower is a limited resource that’s easily depleted. What can you do to replenish it? What fuels the self-control and gratification centers of the brain?

Today on the show, you’ll discover what makes willpower tick, how it gets depleted and what you can do about it! But, consider this as we get started:

  • When you lose self-worth, you are way more likely to lose willpower!
  • When you are strong with your self-worth, your willpower is strong.
  • When you know your worth, then you don’t have the same reactions – cognitively – to situations that would normally deplete your willpower.

You may not have as much willpower as you might think, but you do have deeper resources to strengthen your resolve! Consider these things as you move through your day.

Choosing joy helps to improve your mood, which increases your willpower. The right motivation can help us persevere, because it allows us to endure suffering. 

Where are you wrestling with a lack of worth today? Where can you start choosing joy instead of complaining? 


willpower, self control, struggle, life, people, control, talk, subjects, discover, brain, folks, decisions, situations, depleted, cookies, stimulus, resist, child, happening, colleagues


Chris LoCurto


Chris LoCurto  00:00

You don't have as much willpower as you think you do, that is coming up next.


Chris LoCurto  00:15

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. Today, we're talking about willpower. Whoo! I know you're excited to discover what exactly I mean by, "You don't have as much as you think you do." And we're gonna get into that. And here's the thing. Obviously, this is something that is important to understand, why? Because we base a lot of decisions in our life on willpower. I know, sometimes you probably don't even think about it being willpower. But it is, and we're going to work a lot, we're actually going to be doing, I believe, a three part series on this over the next couple of months, where we're talking about willpower in different areas. And so here's the premise; we are citing a great article on willpower, that is by the American Psychological Association, we're also going to put that little guy or at least some information in the show notes, I think there's a possibly a download on this one, or the next episode, I'm not really sure I just I just show up at the mic. But we're gonna have some information that is going to be really good for you to download and walk through. So here's the deal. And by the way, the actual article is called, "What you need to know about willpower: The psychological science of self-control". So, many people believe that they can improve their lives if they only had this mysterious thing called, "willpower". As we go through this, it's interesting, I want you to think about if you've done your personality style profile, and you know what you are, I want you to kind of look at yourself as well. They do not hit this from personality style, but we do. So as we go through this, I want you to think about how does this apply to you, and your personality style? So, a lot of folks think that if, you know, if they had more self-control, they would be able to eat right. If they had more self control, they had more willpower, they could exercise regularly, or they could avoid drugs, alcohol, they could save for retirement, they could stop procrastinating, and they could achieve all sorts of, you know, like noble goals in life, if they just had this elusive or mysterious willpower. Some folks think that they've got plenty of willpower. So take for example, the results of the survey, the American Psychological Association's annual stress in America survey, the survey asks, among other things, about the ability to make healthy lifestyle changes, right? So this is a big part of the survey. It asks other stuff as well. But this is one of the big questions. Survey participants regularly, regularly cite, "lack of willpower" as the number one reason for not following through with such changes. So, we are going to talk about willpower, what the limits are, and all that kind of fun stuff right after this.


Chris LoCurto  03:34

Hey, leaders, what is this past year taught you? For many of you, the events of 2020 opened your eyes to core challenges and struggles that are deep within your business. I'm sure we can all agree that business as usual just won't cut it this year. But as a leader and a business owner, you may not know where to go from here. So I'm here to tell you that it's time to make a change. As a leader, it's time to pour into your business and your team, by learning and implementing new core skills that will make an immediate impact. It's time to sign up for the Next Level Leadership Live Event this April. This event is tailor-made for small business owners and leaders just like you, helping you to move forward even in a climate of fear and uncertainty. This is not a positive thinking session, but a strategic thinking workshop, chock-full of insightful teaching and impactful learnings, that's going to equip you to return to your business and your team ready to implement and immediately impact their growth and stability. Tickets to the Next Level Leadership Live Event are available right now at a special early bird rate. Go to chrislocurto.com/liveevent or text "liveevent" one word, to the number 44222 for more information, and to get your tickets. Again, that's chrislocurto.com/liveevent. It's time to change your business and your leadership for the better. Don't miss it.


Chris LoCurto  05:08

Okay, we are talking about, what is willpower. Now, essentially, as you look at it willpower is the ability to delay gratification. It's the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. I talked about on the front part of the show about pay attention to your DISC, for those of you that have done values, let me kind of push on some of you that are high economics. Every time I'm teaching about values or motivators, and I speak to the high economics, and I say, high economics are not long-term thinkers, they're short-term thinkers, they always go, "No, we're not." And then I point out this, this, this, this, this, and they go, "Oh, yep, you're right. We are short term thinkers." Right? And so even your values, the things that motivate you in life, if something that requires you to be, you know, utilizing self-control, it might be that that's something you're not going to go after. It might be that utilizing self-control holds you back. So here's what we're going to talk about. I'm going to read through a whole lot of information. We're going to talk about delaying gratification, and this is coming out of that article. So starting with this, we're gonna talk about the marshmallow test. So more than 40 years ago, Walter Mischel, PhD a psychologist, now at Columbia University explored self-control in children with a simple but effective test. His experiments using the marshmallow test, as it came to be known, laid the groundwork for the modern study of self-control, Michel and his colleagues presented a preschooler with a plate of treats such as marshmallows, the child was then told that the researcher had to leave the room for a few minutes. But not before giving the child a simple choice. That the child waited until the researcher returned, she could have two marshmallows. If the child couldn't wait, she could ring a bell, and the researcher would come back immediately, but she would only be allowed one marshmallow. Preschoolers with good self-control sacrifice the immediate pleasure of a chewy marshmallow in order to indulge in two marshmallows at some point later on. So look at it this way. Ex-smokers forfeit the enjoyment of a cigarette. Why? Because they're delaying the gratification that they want. What is that gratification? Decreasing the risk of lung cancer. Extending their life, right? Shoppers who resist splurging at the mall so that they can save for a comfortable retirement, they're doing the same thing, right? I'm going to sacrifice this today I'm delaying my gratification so actually have money to live on when I get to retirement, and so on. This is what we're experiencing from the the preschoolers, that actually have good self-control. So they put together a system they call it the "cool system". Kind of in a cognitive sense. Oh, easy way to explain it is, is that the "cool" side is the angel on your shoulder telling you not to do something, the "hot" side would be the devil on your shoulder telling you that you should do it. So when you look at this system of how am I responding? Am I responding with good self control or not, when you put "hot" stimulus, the the hot type of you know, the devil on the shoulder stimulus, in front of people whose willpower is failing, then essentially, it overrides any of the angel on the other shoulder, the "cool" system, which is leading to impulsive actions. So let me say it again. If somebody's willpower is failing, and you offer them that stimulus, that is the thing that goes against willpower, then it's going to actually override the good voice on the other shoulder, telling them not to do it. Some people in fact, may be more or less susceptible to the "hot" triggers as well. And that susceptibility to emotional responses may influence their behavior throughout life. So think about, how much willpower did you have as a kid? How much self-control did you have as a kid, right? If you had a good amount, then you probably have a decent amount as an adult. Mischel discovered, the PhD discovered, when he revisited his marshmallow test subjects as adolescences, he found that teenagers who had waited longer for the marshmallows as preschoolers, were more likely to score higher on the SAT and their parents were more likely to rate them, as having a greater ability to plan, to handle stress, to respond to reason, to exhibit self-control in frustrating situations and concentrate without becoming distracted.


Chris LoCurto  10:13

 Folks, parents, listen, this is important for us to understand when it comes to willpower. What are we seeing right now in the parenting world, the world of entitlement? The world of, my kid didn't like the thing I made, let me make 14 different things, until he does like something. My kid wants this toy right now. So instead of making them clean their room for it, I'm just gonna go ahead and buy it because they're wanting and they're crying. All of these things that we are doing, to teach our kids not to have self-control is going to show up later. So if you are a great parent, who's teaching your child, no, you don't get that now. Like one of the great things, again, if you go back to, you know, like Financial Peace University. For those of you that have been through this, if you've not done Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey's program, get it done, do it, make the decision. But there's also Financial Peace, Jr, which is teaching kids to delay gratification, it's teaching them that if they will clean their room enough times, and get a quarter for it, then you know, after they've cleaned it, so many times, they can go buy a toy. It's teaching self-control. Guess what else it's teaching? Work ethic. "Oh, my gosh, if I will bust my butt for something, then I actually get to spend money on stuff." And there's so much more to it than just that, in the process, there's saving, there's giving, there's all kinds of fun stuff. But think about this, you have to take a look as a parent to how you are training your children. Are you leading your children to have self-control? If you as an adult, don't have much self-control, you don't have much willpower, guess what? There's a really good chance, a really good chance. You are not held accountable for self-control. You are not taught self-control as a child. And I can tell you, we see both sides of Next Level Life. We see folks that have great self-control or have really good willpower. And then we see folks that struggle like crazy. And as we do, what we look at when we look into their root system, is we see it's trained. It's a trained thing. It's something that somebody is allowed to have. For me, one of the great things I love about my mother is that my brother and I had work ethic. Heather and I just bought a bunch of land and we have a bunch of trees to chop down, and you may have seen a video of my wife chopping a tree. She's going to be on the show soon talking about willpower when it comes to health stuff. But we're out there, and man, I tell you, it feels so good to get back out swinging an axe. I grew up in Lake Tahoe. I grew up in the snow, in the wintertime, my brother and I were shoveling snow. And we would always ask our mom, would you please get us a snowblower? And she'd say no, it builds character. And we kept using those shovels, right? And we lived on a hill where if we didn't get the snow cleared, then what would happen is the snow plow would come by and he put more snow on top of our snow, and by the time we got home, we'd have this berm of ice that we'd have to then go take an axe to to break it down, right? So we actually chose to get up early go not only shovel the driveway, so we didn't have to deal with it after school, but also shovel up the street a little bit, one foot path up the street about 20 feet, so wouldn't end up back in our driveway. Why? Because we were choosing to go bust our butts so that we didn't end up with a bigger chore later on. Well guess what happened in the summertime? We split wood by hand, we'd go out into the forest and we drop trees and we-it's called "bucking a tree"-you'd cut it into rounds, load them up in the truck, bring it back home. And then my brother and I would split it by hand. And we would say, every year, "Mom can we have a we have a log splitter?" "No. Splitting by hand builds character." Until one day, finally, after a few years, she got us a log splitter. And I promise you, it was amazing. My brother and I thought, this is the greatest thing. The log splitter, the greatest thing since sliced bread.


Chris LoCurto  14:49

We used that thing for maybe two or three days. And then my brother and I were both like, we'd rather go back to splitting it by hand. Why? Because of the exercise, because we had already built up this enjoyment of splitting wood by hand, and what it was doing for us personally. We had a faster, easier way, to do the process. And we were actually like, nope, we'd rather put the energy and the effort into splitting by hand, because it's also giving us a physical benefit as well. I have to thank my mom for doing that. Some of you have got parents that did the same thing, that taught you work ethic. That taught you self-control, that taught you willpower. And then a bunch of you don't. A lot of folks have parents that gave you what you wanted. That didn't teach you self-control. And then you're struggling with why you don't make great decisions when it comes to willpower now. Well, folks, guess what? Both sides are trained.


Chris LoCurto  15:56

We're not making victims here. The goal isn't to say, "Well, you're a victim of your parents." The goal is to say we need some retraining. We need the right tools. We need to retrain our brains to focus on the right things, so that we can accomplish the right stuff, right? So we can make better decisions. So, let's continue on with the article here. As it turns out, the marshmallow study didn't end there. Recently, BJ Casey, PhD of Weill Cornell Medical College, along with Mischel, Yuichi Shoda, PhD, man, I just butchered some stuff right there. Of the University of Washington and other colleagues tracked down 59 subjects now in their 40s, who had participated in the marshmallow experiments as children. The researchers tested the subjects' willpower strength, with a laboratory task known to demonstrate self-control in adults. Amazingly, the subjects willpower differences had largely held up over four decades. In general, children who are less successful at resisting the marshmallow all those years ago, performed more poorly on the self-control tasks as adults. An individual's sensitivity to so-called "hot stimuli", it seems may persist throughout his or her lifetime. Additionally, Casey and her colleagues examined brain activity in some subjects using functional magnetic resonance imaging. That's a fun one. When presented with tempting stimuli, individuals with low self-control showed brain patterns that differed from those with high self- control. The researchers found that the prefrontal cortex-this is important, we're going to talk about this in all three because this is something we actually focus on again, in Next Level Life-the researchers found that the prefrontal cortex, a region that controls executive functions, such as making choices, was more active in subjects with higher self- control. And the region thought to process desires and rewards showed boosted activity in those with lower self-control. Hmm. Think about that. So those who are processing desire and rewards showed a boost of activity. Those who had self-control, their decision making area, the prefrontal cortex, that area showed a boost in their ability to make decisions, right? Their functions. Those who had less self-control showed boosted activity in the area that processes desire and reward. Wow. Think about that for a second. When you struggle with self-control, when you struggle with willpower, guess which area of your brain is focusing heavily? The desire and reward section of your brain. Oh my gosh. That's what my focus is. If I'm focusing on self-control, if I'm struggling with self-control, then instead of being focused on making good quality decisions, my brain is focused on, what's my reward here? What's my desire here? Are my desires getting shut down? Am I not able to get the things that I want? Am I not going to get a reward for this? How amazing is it that the way we struggle, or do well is affected or affecting different areas of our brain? The recent findings offer an intriguing neurobiological basis for the push and pull of temptation. So, what are the limits of willpower? So when willpower fails, exposure to an emotionally charged stimulus overrides one's rational cognitive system, leading to impulsive actions. So one's capacity for self-control appears to be persistent.


Chris LoCurto  20:19

And by the way, as we're going through this, we're going to talk about how to fix this stuff, right? Now we're going to talk about, as you go through the article, they're not going to have the great fixes on what to do, keep in mind, this is a study this is a focus on what's actually happening. But we actually teach this all the time, right? We talk about this stuff in Next Level Life, of how do you get the right tools in place to fix this stuff to have better decision making processes? So, we've got a lot of information that we're going to be sharing over the next three episodes on all of this. So once capacity for self-control, appears to be persistent, those with better self-control as preschoolers tend to have better self-control as adults. "Well, Chris, isn't that just saying that if I have bad self-control now, I'm never going to change that?" Nope. It's saying that-well, yes, actually, it is saying that. I'm saying no. It's saying that if that's how you've been your whole life, you've struggled with both willpower and self-control and think about it in all areas, then yeah, you're gonna struggle with it. what I'm telling you is, there's ways of fixing that. There's ways of overcoming that. So let's kind of take a look at how is willpower a limited resource. And I want you to really think about this. So many times, we have this belief that we're going to be able to pull stuff off with our willpower because it's unlimited. And believe it or not, there's many factors on how limited our willpower is. So, taking a look continuing on with the article is willpower a limited resource, and again, I'm not hitting everything. It's a very long article, very long study. I'm throwing out the areas that I feel like a really solid for us to discuss. So every day in one form or another you will exert willpower. You resist the urge to surf the web instead of finishing your expense report. You reach for a salad when you're craving a burger. You bite your tongue when you'd like to make a snide remark. Yet a growing body of research shows that resisting repeated temptations takes a mental toll. Let me say that again. Resisting repeated temptations takes a mental toll. Some experts liken willpower to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse. Some of the earliest evidence of this effect came from the lab of Roy Baumeister, I believe. In one early study he brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh baked cookies. Think about that. Think about walking into a room and you have that smell of fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Never woud I look at the radishes and think to myself, "Yes, a bowl of radishes, oh the aroma of radishes." Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Afterwards they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes and resisted the enticing cookies-listen to this-gave up on the puzzle after about eight minutes. While the lucky cookie eaters, persevered for nearly 19 minutes on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies it seemed, drained the subjects self-control for subsequent situations. Since that work was published in 1998. Numerous studies have built a case for willpower depletion or also known as ego depletion. Folks. Here's the situation with the cookies and the radishes. When the people were brought into the room, they were somewhere told they can actually eat the cookies. What happened? They were able to continue longer, over twice the amount of time on putting together the puzzle afterwards. But the folks that were told to eat the radishes even though there was the smell of the cookies in the room, and they couldn't have the cookies. How did they respond? Like little kids.


Chris LoCurto  24:55

They ate the radishes, started on the puzzle and then like "I'm done." Why? Because believe it or not the self-control of not eating the cookies, wore them out. They got frustrated. They gave up. Put the puzzle together. After eight minutes, "I'm done. I can't do it." Why? Because as we talked about on the marshmallow test, what did we discover? How does it affect the different areas of your brain? The self-control people are actually able to function on good decision making. What happened to the puzzle decision making of the people that ate the radishes, but could not eat the cookies? They gave up. They couldn't finish the task. And as we see the ego depletion, some of the research, or some of the experts call it, has a big impact on what they're experiencing. Why do they call it ego depletion? Think about it. The force to have self- control, "Hey, you can't have the cookies. You got to eat the radishes." "Well, that sucks." What happens to the ego? Right? What happens to the pride? Remember, where's the biggest boost happening inside of their brain? In the desires and rewards area of their brain. They're not focused on decision making. They're not focused on solving the puzzle. Right? Obviously, the puzzle was hard enough that it took over 19 minutes to try and solve it. Right? Probably longer. So instead, because they had to eat the radishes, their ego gets depleted. And how does that affect their decision making process? Not well. So folks, ask yourself this question: When you have to have self-control, when you have to utilize willpower, if it's on stuff that you're delaying gratification, that you don't want to delay that gratification, how do you respond? For some people really well, for some people, they're actually able to make good decisions. For other people, they act like little kids. Their ego gets hurt, their pride gets hurt. Their ego gets deflated in the process. So what happens to their decision making right afterwards? So think about this, if this is you, this is important to know. If you've ever had that moment where you had to use willpower, and you didn't like it, how did you respond afterwards? Did you respond as a victim? Did you respond as somebody who, "Well, I'm just not going to do this thing."? Or possibly for a lot of folks, did you begin making worse decisions? Because the decisions became even more selfish and self focused? Things to think about, right? Why is this so important? Is it because we want to sit there and look at a bunch of people and go, "Well, you guys suck."? Not at all. Because if we don't fix this stuff, if we don't actually learn the tools to do something about it, we stay here. Like we saw in the marshmallow test, four decades later, people who struggled with self-control, still struggled with self-control. People who did not, earlier with the marshmallow test, did a really good job with willpower as an adult in their 40s. And it doesn't stop there. Nope, we got more. They took some volunteers who were asked to suppress their feelings as they viewed an emotional movie gave up sooner on a test of physical stamina than did volunteers who watched the film and reacted normally. Not a surprise, once again. Those that were allowed to react with their feelings and weren't told to use self-control actually did better on the physical stamina test than those that were asked to hold back. Right? To have self-control. What else? If you've ever willed yourself to be diplomatic with an infuriating colleague, or forced a smile through your in-laws extended visit, you've probably discovered that social interactions often demand self-control. Indeed, research shows that interacting with others and maintaining relationships can deplete willpower. Here's again where I want to speak to personality style. I want you to think about this. Think about your personality style if you've taken the disc profile. If you have not done it, chrislocurto.com get it done. Think through how do you respond when you're in those situations, right? Do you have great willpower? Does it get depleted? Do you struggle with your in-laws or a colleague? Or are you able to make really good decisions?


Chris LoCurto  29:55

What we tend to see over and over and over again in Next Level Life when it comes to family members, social life, or career, is that those that are struggling with willpower really struggle in these areas. I mean, decently. Not to say that they don't have any willpower, it's just that it runs out. Right? They don't do well being around those situations for long periods of time. So, what about physical stuff? So they also did a study on sleep, they took subjects who had 24 hours of sleep deprivation before asking them to suppress their emotional reactions to a film clip, then they tested folks that had a really good night's sleep to do the same thing. And here's an interesting thing that they found out. Those that spent the night snug in their bed, actually did not have any more willpower than those who did not. Interesting. So when physically being depleted, given the same situation of, control your feelings, you know, hold back, whether they had sleep or not sleep actually didn't have a difference in the responses. Right? So that's interesting. Being physically tired, what do we say all the time? "Oh, I don't have any willpower because I'm tired. I'm not making good decisions, because I'm tired." Well, interestingly, studies show that it didn't have that big of an effect. What is the effect itself? It's the having to, hold back. So if depletion isn't physical fatigue, what is it? Well, recent investigations have found a number of possible mechanisms for willpower depletion, including some at a biological level. Scientists at the University of Toronto found that people whose willpower was depleted by self-control tasks showed decreased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region involved with cognition. When your willpower has been tested, your brain may actually function differently. Other evidence suggests that willpower depleted individuals might be low on fuel. The brain is a high energy organ powered by a steady supply of glucose. So think of blood sugar. Some researchers have proposed that brain cells working hard to maintain self-control, consume glucose faster than it can be replenished. Let me say that part again. Some folks that are having to maintain self-control, their brain starts to process glucose faster than you can possibly put it in. Hey, sugar addicts. Think about this. As Brian raises his hand, think about this for a second. This is another thing we see Next Level Life a lot. What happens when you get tasked on having to have self-control? What do you reach for? What's the first thing you go after? Sugar. Sugar. We see it all the time. We will see folks come in to Next Level Life with a bag of their favorite candy. It helps us to ask, "Hey, what's that for?" They're like, "Oh, it's just a snack." No, it's not. You know, something is going to be emotional in here, you know that you're going to have to deal with some self -control, and the first thing you're going to do is you're going to rip open that bag and start popping m&ms like crazy, or gummy bears, or whatever it is the thing that they that they eat, right? Here's the interesting thing. We know that sugar affects the prefrontal cortex. It affects the pleasure centers of your brain. How so? It responds in a way that allows you to numb from the situation. Well guess what happens when you are actually dealing with self-control or willpower? It starts burning through glucose faster than you can restore it. So guess what your body's then asking for? You need to increase our blood sugar. And here's what they discovered. Restoring glucose, putting sugar in, right? Guess what it does? It appears to reboot rundown willpower. Surprise, surprise, right? So one study, for example, found that drinking sugar sweetened lemonade restored willpower strength in depleted individuals while drinking sugar-free lemonade did not. So now we're putting something that is not healthy for us in our body. Why? Because we're struggling with self-control. So what do we do about this? Well, we're going to talk more about that when we come back right after this.


Chris LoCurto  34:56

Next Level Life is our two day personal discovery experience. It's a one-on-one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life, and to discover what's holding you back from freedom and peace. Imagine this, what if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in a few months, a year, five years, if you had clarity, purpose, and peace? Probably a big difference from where you stand today. Now, I know it's possible, because I've been where you are asking myself, is there more? There is, and there's a better way. And it starts with Next Level Life. You can go to chrislocurto.com/discover, to take the next step. Now, if you're struggling with discontentment, regret, or not feeling good enough, which most of you are, if you're filled with anxiety, or your relationships are lacking, don't keep going through the same motions every single day, learn how to move past the things robbing you of peace. Go to chrislocurto.com/discover and take the next step.


Chris LoCurto  36:06

 So we're back, at the break there, I was mentioning one of our great clients who I love dearly, we had a Stratplan and we came to a very intense moment where everybody around the table was pushing on this one leader. And he literally picked up a bag of gummy bears, and was popping them as fast as he can eat them. Because everybody was turning to him for this answer. And he's like, hold on a second! I need to process it. He's popping these gummy bears left and right, then all of a sudden, boom, he was able to swing an answer.


Chris LoCurto  36:42

 It was a really good answer. We're not again, like I said before, we're not advocating sugar. We're not advocating numbing, we're not advocating, you know, putting something in your body that's not good for you. We have better ways of doing that. Right? And we're going to talk about that, especially on the next episode. But part of it is what I'm about to read next. Part of it is your beliefs. Part of it is your belief system, right? So evidence also suggests that willpower depletion can be kept in check by beliefs, and attitudes. What's one of the biggest attitudes that we see? That absolutely destroys willpower? What do you think it is? victim mentality. By far, the belief that I am a victim, and life is happening to me, bad things are happening to me, I don't have any control. It's all falling apart. And I'm going to blame somebody else for my situation. Destroys willpower. Destroys it. Why? Because what is the thing that you're convincing yourself of? I don't have the ability to have the willpower, because all of this is happening to me. This person is making me feel this way. This person is making me mad, upset, making me fail, making me, whatever. On the way into work this morning, I had to drive slower because of the fantastic police officer that was in front of me. He was making me late. That was my joke in the car. This police officer is making me late because I can't drive a little bit faster. I love you police officers. You guys are amazing. We support the daylights out of you. Just don't give me a ticket. So, beliefs and attitudes, absolutely. And by the way, we 100% support our police officers, not the bad ones, which is a very tiny percentage. That's my little side rant. So once again, beliefs and attitudes absolutely matter. Mark Moravian, PhD of the University at Albany and colleagues found that people who felt compelled-hey, I'm speaking to a lot of you out there, pay attention right now-people who felt compelled to exert self-control in order to please others. Hey, people pleasers. Hey, talking to you now, I know I used to be one of you. I used to be a big time people pleaser. Those folks were more easily depleted than the people who are driven by their own internal goals and desires. So when it comes to willpower, those who are in touch with themselves may be better off than their people pleasing counterparts. You know this to be true people pleasers. You know it's true, because what is the goal? The goal is gaining worth by pleasing other people. What happens? You discover that a lot of the time you can't. And so what happens to your self-control and willpower? Well, if I can't please them, if I can't get my worth from pleasing them, if I can't make them happy, I feel responsible for their happiness. And if I can't make them happy, well, then I just have no self-control. I don't have that ability. I can tell you as somebody who spent the first half of his life as a people pleaser, I have way more self-control, when I'm not trying to please everybody. When I don't feel like it's my responsibility to please everybody. Instead, I focus on the healthy decisions. So once again, as we look at this, you know, there's not the answers in this article of how to change from where you are. We have those. We do that we teach that in Next Level Life. The first half of my life was focused on people pleasing, the second half has not been. What's my focus been? Pleasing God. Number one. By far. Learning what my true worth is, learning how to actually handle situations when my worth is tanking, learning how to handle situations when I'm struggling with something, learning the tools to actually walk through those situations. That's what's going to change you, that's what's going to help you. If you decide, if you choose again, you got to choose if you don't choose, then you can't be surprised that you're going to go decades with not that much willpower self-control, or that your self control gets depleted very rapidly.


Chris LoCurto  41:38

Muraven, Baumeister, and their colleagues also explored the effects of mood, by lifting their subjects spirits with comedy videos and surprise gifts. They demonstrated that a good mood can overcome some of the willpower depletion effects normally seen after exercising self-control. So, there you have it. I'm stopping at that part in the article for today, I'm going to continue, we're not done yet. What happens when your mood is increased? What happens when things make you happy? Now, keep in mind, things can't make you happy, you have to choose happiness. But what happens when you choose happiness, so think about it, if somebody shows up with a gift, you have to choose happiness. You have to choose to be happy about that gift. So when your mood is lifted, it changes your willpower. Hey, guess what? You can choose a better mood. You can choose a better outlook. You can choose to look at your circumstances in a different light. You can choose to look at your situation and go, "You know what? I'm going to be thankful and grateful for the things that God is doing in my life." You can choose to look at your situation and find the silver linings. An amazing thing happens when you do, all of a sudden, you have greater self-control, greater willpower. Why does any of that matter? Well, let's just take a look at the Wheel of Life. So for us, we use seven areas in Next Level Life to discuss, and this is made popular by Zig Ziglar. You know we've been huge fans of of Zig and the Wheel of Life for so long, we made a couple of adjustments to it ourselves. And so the the areas that we talk through, normally the Wheel of Life would be; Career, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Family and Social, we've adjusted two of those. Instead of Spiritual we talked about the God relationship, your relationship directly with God, if you are not a believer, feel free to keep spiritual in there. And instead of intellectual, we actually call it Personal. And what we say is feelings, thoughts, intellect and emotions, right? We want to take a hard look at ourselves in all areas of our being in a in a healthy or unhealthy way. We need to figure out what's what right? So let's kind of just take a look back at what we've talked about today. From childhood, if you are trained on having self-control, if you are taught-now again, the article doesn't speak to the training, but I can tell you we've been doing this for a very long time. Over 400 Next Level Life events, over decades of teaching and coaching and guiding and all that kind of fun stuff. There's a world of difference of teaching your children self-control, and allowing them to not have self- control. If you're somebody who's convincing yourself that there's nothing you can do about it. You're wrong. Get the people out of your life or out of your parenting that keep telling you just let the kid experience everything they need to experience, no. Don't. Lead. Guide. Parent. It's you're responsibility to God. So from a young age, when a child is able to have self-control, then as they grow, they're able to have self-control, even to the point of decades later, having good quality, self-control and willpower, those that do not have it as a child, decades later, struggle with it as well. While there's all kinds of stimulus that can affect your levels, and your capacity for self-control, there are things that you can do about it, there's choices that you can make. We're going to talk a lot about that in the next episode. But here's what I want you to do today. Let's take a look in each one of these areas. And I want you to ask yourself, I want you to write these things down. Career, Financial, God Relationship, Physical, Personal, Family Life, Social Life. In those areas, I want you to sit down and make a list of the things that you struggle with when it comes to self-control. I want you to take a look at your career. Where do you struggle with self-control in your career? Is it you need to prove yourself to everybody? You can't control having to be the hero? You can't control struggles that you're having with colleagues?


Chris LoCurto  46:30

When you look at your financial life, do you struggle with emotional spending? Believe it or not, emotional spending will light up the pleasure centers as well, not as good as sugar. But it will. It will help you to feel like you are rewarded. Why do we go buy stuff that we don't need when we're struggling? Because the reward in the moment tells us that we feel so much better about ourselves. And then five minutes later, we're now upset because we just spent money that we didn't have on something we didn't need to try and feel better about ourselves. Take a look at the areas of your finances. Where do you struggle with willpower? Where do you struggle with self-control? Your relationship with God. Man, I'm telling you, obedience is the the key, right? That's the big area that we struggle. How many times do we struggle to follow God's will? I'm going to surprise you have something, God does not care one bit about your will. He cares about His, right? So how often do we struggle in trying to understand and fulfill His will? How often do we struggle in trying to be obedient to the things he's telling us to do, and be obedient by not doing the things he's telling us not to do? When it comes to your physical being. For the love, I think this is one everybody can quickly relate to where do you not have willpower? Putting down the doughnuts, right? Not going another day without getting out and exercising? Eating well, putting the sugar away? Take a look at all those areas that you're struggling in willpower. When it comes to you personally feelings, thoughts, intellect, emotions. What are areas that you struggle with? We are going to talk about some of those things, some of those choices that are bad choices. Especially you know, nowadays, I would have said, just men, but it's happening with women too. Unfortunately, you can see it, of like pornography, of how much that is affecting your brain.


Chris LoCurto  48:36

 We're going to talk about this next time about how it actually starts to return your brain to a juvenile state. So how much do you struggle in not having willpower to stay away from things that are not healthy for you, personally? Right? Maybe it's believing all the lies that you're telling yourself, maybe it's being stuck and all that negative self-talk. Do you have the tools and the willpower, to actually combat the negative self-talk and the lies? You've heard me talk a lot about that on the show, about how we help people by giving them the tools to overcome the negative self-talk and the lies that's happening in their heads. Taking a look at your family. Where do you struggle with willpower, self-control? Is it with your parents? Is it as a parent? Is it as a spouse? Are you struggling with controlling your spouse? Are you struggling with being submissive to your spouse, and I don't mean that in a good, biblical way. I'm talking about that you don't actually live a healthy lifestyle with your spouse, instead, you allow all kinds of crazy control and manipulation. When it comes to your social life, where do you struggle with willpower? Is it that you feel like you need to please everybody? Is it that you feel responsible to please people and throw that back and family as well? Do you feel responsible for other people's happiness? Do you feel like you need to surround yourself with people who treat you like a victim? Do you feel like you need to be a victim? What are the areas you're struggling with willpower in your social life? Well, folks, here's the thing I want you to hear. Willpower is not an infinite supply in your brain. It is choices. It is decision making. We see people being more successful when they focus on it being a decision than when they focus on it, you know, as being a victim. And we do know that there are many things that you will probably try to do to restore that willpower, but when you've been tested a lot, it will drain. The key is, what do you do about it if you're struggling? What do you do about it? How do you actually build that back up? You can do what the researchers have shown, you can start shoving a bunch of sugar and I can tell you, that's just going to create a bigger issue. That's actually going to destroy your stomach more than anything. So that's not a good idea, push the sugar away. But you need to get the tools. Some of you need to be in Next Level Life. Oh, for the love all of you do. I haven't met a single person yet who would not immensely benefit from going through Next Level Life. If you are ready to get the tools and change a bunch of this stuff, go to chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife. Just get the information. Get the information to start making better decisions. And don't delay that. Don't procrastinate that, don't push that off. Do that today. Do it tonight. Do it now. chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife. Get the information to help you to make better decisions in life. And then start working on that Wheel of Life taking a look at those areas that you're struggling because this is something you can work on right now. Well, folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Again, this will be a three part series I believe. So it's going to be spaced out a little bit, but we're going to hit this on the next one. We're going to talk more about what to do about this, and then we're gonna come back and we're gonna hit this from the health side. We hope this has helped you today. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.

1) To the original article (source material),
2) To the "one-page" PDF download of main points,

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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.