Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Book Report: The Willpower Instinct

Willpower is define as the control exerted to do something or restrain impulses. In the book " The Willpower Instinct", written by Kelly McGonigal, it discuses the means and understanding of the many qualities to control and improve the quality of life and personal restrain. Dr. McGonigal is a professor at Stanford School of Medicine Health Improvement program and the purpose is too assist students in finding more control in their chaotic lives. She actually challenges the concepts of "Willpower", saying its hinders most people trying to amount the complexities of human understanding and emotions to a single term. This can cause much unneeded stress. Professor McGonigal then created the class "The Science of Willpower", this was meant to offer any and all, who had a desire to break old habits and manifest new ones in place. Whether it be too quite smoking, dieting, perhaps to exercise more, this book is a very written account of how to better your daily life and personal restrain.
My favorite and most reliable section in the book would have to be the "Pause and Plan" response. Kelly McGonigal talks about in the book of the primal instinct of " Fight or Flight". Now we don't have crazy predators for when this instinct was very helpful. Though nowadays it is causing us to make more rash and concerning choices. This conflicts the premise of "Pause and Plan". "Fight or Flight", can be triggered in stressful situations. While, "Pause and Plan" purpose is to slow down the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing so in doing, causes the prefrontal cortex to activated and help with more self control of the mind and body. Rather then hyperventilating and panicking, you slow down your bodily functions and access the task at hand. This was important for me, because I was very impulsive growing up. I lacked the means to control my body's urges in times where I should have fully evaluated the ripple affect these split second choices had on my future. The response of "Pause and Plan", is to make sure your fully analyzing the situation, to prevent negative outcomes. Being calm, cool, and collective is what this response is all about.
In the book, "Endurance", written by Alfred Lansing, talks about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew. The fortitude of these men trying to venture into unimaginable conditions, is crazy in itself. Every move made was a life saving decision. Ernest Shackleton, Frank Wild, Frank Worsley, and the other twenty-five men, had to be very calculating for their survival. The condition that surrounded them, our one of the worst climates in the world. The "Pause and Plan" method was very evident, for no decisions were made to hastily. Lives were at stack, but their is never a time to be more calm and rational then in these very moments.       
A short clip to highlight and simplify important parts of "The Willpower Instinct".


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