Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Report: The Willpower of Instinct, Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal wrote the book The Willpower of Instinct in 2011. McGonigal wrote this book to help people all over really understand and master their willpower. McGonigal first explains what it really means to have self control and how it can be used to help improve many aspects of one’s life including but not limited to: happiness, productivity and overall health. McGonigal explains that being able to really achieve will power people can reach their short term and long term goals. McGonigal stresses that one of the most important ways to gain self control and will power one must understand why they loose their control in certain aspects of their life. For example people who struggle with obesity should understand why they have no control over what they eat.  The Willpower of Instinct is a good read for anyone looking to lose weight, be a better parent, excel in the work environment and much more.
The most interesting part of this book to me is when McGonigal explains the “Pause and Plan” response. As humans we are easy to react without thinking. I think this part of the book will really help people who struggle with being patient. Whenever my boyfriend is in the car he has the worst road rage anyone has ever seen, he will scream and shout, bang on the steering wheel and start shaking. It will happen even if the simplest little thing happens like he hits a red life. My boyfriend is a very impatient driver and I had him read this section of the book. I think if Andrew were to “Pause and Plan” while he was driving he would have a much more relaxed experience driving (and so would I). By pausing and planning you are redirecting all that built up tension from your body to your brain so that you can logically think through the situation. This was my favorite section not only because it related to my boyfriend’s driving situation but it can be used in many other daily life situations like getting in arguments, taking tests and even falling asleep.
Endurance by Alfred Lansing is a great tale of men who used will power and self control every day. The power it took for those men to keep on surviving day after day, night after night in the coldest continent on earth is unthinkable. Many would not have lasted as long as Shackleton and his men did, but they did it. They survived and that took great motivation and self control to make that happen. Those men probably had the “Pause and Plan” response down perfectly.

Overall The Willpower of Instinct is an amazing book for anybody. This book can help many different issues all over the world.

McGonigal, K. (2012). The willpower instinct: How self-control works, why it matters, and what you 
   can do to get more of it. New York: Avery.

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