Monday, September 26, 2011

No Negative Self-Tallk for Intelligent Women

A new book that's getting buzz reminds me of my book in progress, Handbook #1for Intelligent Women Only: Break the Negative Self-Talk Habit. Roy Baumeister and John Tierney have a new book about willpower, titled Willpower, Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. The book review notes that the author's use of the metaphor of self-control as a muscle has a kernel of neurobiological truth. Specifically, as muscles can be energized by a sugary snack, so can will power: like muscles, frequent exercise of will power increases strength.
remember the source. The authors of Willpower uses the term "ego depletion" to describe a similar effect.

I blogged previously about "decision fatigue" which seems very similar to what Willpower calls "ego depletion." Both states describe a decreased ability to manage self-control. I'm wondering  if women who are having difficulty managing their negative self-talk (reducing or eliminating it) can pop a couple of M&Ms and their will power will puff up like a bicep.  Or if we're able to stop swearing, or smoking, or biting our fingernails if our will power muscle will strengthen enough to help reduce negative self-talk. Or even better, if we are able to reduce negative self-talk, will we be better able to manage ourselves in many other areas of self-control. e.g. habits like smoking that we don't want to continue or habits such as yoga that we do want to acquire as a regular practice.

I'd really be interested in other people's thoughts about will power, how to stimulate it, how to lose it. I've often thought that their wasn't such a real thing as will power and as I've discussed before self-management seems to have more to do with strategic allocation of attention than effort, sugar, or exercising my will power. But as we all have learned daily, we're all different and whatever works, practically or conceptually, is what we're looking for.
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