There. I said it. And I’ll say it again: Willpower is bullshit.
It was probably a good concept at some point, but it’s become so corrupt that it’s now complete and utter crap. It’s simultaneously an excuse and some ever-elusive mystical force. Yet somehow we’ve come to rely on it as a means for getting what we want in life.
“I don’t have the willpower to say NO when someone brings cookies into the office.”
“Wow. How do you have so much willpower?”
It’s gotten so bad we’ve even done clinical trials about willpower so we can figure out what causes it to lapse, thereby creating an excuse about an excuse. At some point it even became a muscle that gets tired… Essentially you could overwork your willpower to the point that you didn’t have any left, which made for the most elegant of all excuses.
“I used up all my willpower resisting those donuts this morning, so now I have no choice but to binge eat oreos.”
Essentially, I was a saint so now I’m predetermined to be a sinner. Science even said it was true!
And then you get articles like this that perpetuate the myth by stating “willpower is like a muscle capable of fatigue” like it’s fact. All of a sudden we’re in pop-psychology realm with Malcolm Gladwell for company. The soundbites completely obscure what’s really going on because they provide a convenient way to feel better about ourselves without doing anything to actually better ourselves.
Well I’m calling BULLSHIT.