Quote by EDITH WHARTON - Deepstash
The Psychology of Willpower

Learn more about scienceandnature with this collection

How to strengthen your willpower

How to overcome temptation and distractions

The role of motivation in willpower

The Psychology of Willpower

Discover 57 similar ideas in

It takes just

8 mins to read


Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.



121 reads


Habits: An Intelligent Autopilot

Consider the example of driving the same route to work every morning. You might often find yourself wrapped up in thoughts about how your day will unfold, or how you might explain to your boss why you failed to complete some task, and yet you still easily navigate the roads that lead you to your ...


290 reads


Yet habit - strange thing! what cannot habit accomplish?



122 reads

The Puzzle In Defining Habits

In attempting to account for the intelligent dimension of habit, researchers have moved away from construing habits as unintelligent mechanisms and towards modelling them as a species of belief.

The puzzle we face in clarifying the character of habits is t...


275 reads

Skills Aren’t Habits. But Skills Often Consist Of Habits.

The mechanistic view of habits is misguided. Habits are not, despite what Ryle says, simply stupefied and rigid reactions to environmental triggers, or ‘single-track dispositions’ to respond to the world with highly stereotyped reflexes. To see this, we need only note that forging any cle...


127 reads

We Are Habit Experts

For Dreyfus, we are no less experts at our everyday habitual routines than Serena Williams is an expert at tennis (albeit what we accomplish might be substantially less impressive). The consequence of this, for him, is that our everyday habits will be guided by expert-level perception and...


64 reads

We Ought Not To Fall Into Easy Dichotomies

Contemporary philosophy of mind is positively replete with warnings that we ought not to fall into easy dichotomies between intelligent and voluntary processes on the one hand, and unintelligent and automatic processes on the other. Indeed, even psychologists such as Daniel Kahne...


54 reads

The Intelligent Dimension Of Habits

However, even our most mundane habitual routines actually display a great deal of intelligence. Indeed, they are often intelligently context-sensitive and flexible in such a way as can support and structure our goals and projects.


431 reads


Habit is a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments.



133 reads

… Or Mindless Reflexes?

In tune with this characterisation, philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists alike often conceive of habits as highly mechanistic and near-automatic responses to environmental cues that unfold outside of our deliberative control. This conception of habits as mindless...


396 reads


A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.



116 reads

A Habit Is A Replication

Gilbert Ryle, in his seminal work The Concept of Mind (1949), emphatically denied that habits were intelligent. For him, habits are mere mindless mechanisms. Indeed, he explicitly contrasts habitual doings with intelligent and skilful behaviours, claiming that it “is of ...


202 reads

Habits Are Extra Sense Organs

The pragmatist philosopher John Dewey is instructive here. Dewey, like Dreyfus, construes habits as facilitating intelligent behaviour by shaping perception. However, he denies that, as we become experts at carrying out everyday routines, our habitual responses always become entirely auto...


55 reads

The Root Problem Of Both Conceptions

Both mechanical and intellectual conceptions of habit encounter significant difficulties in explaining how habits sustain intelligent behaviour. These conceptions have a common root problem, which is a failure to appreciate the pivotal role of perception that philosophers working in the p...


64 reads

Who And What Is Intelligent?

Great thinkers since before Aristotle have overwhelmingly tended to characterise humans as rational animals in virtue of our capacity to form and intelligently adjust our beliefs. On this view, constructing good habits is vital – but, once a habitual routine is established, it is not ...


205 reads

(As) Experts, (We) Suffer From Narrow Expertise

Dreyfus is correct to highlight the important role of perceptual skill in guiding our habitual doings, but his account should be revised in one crucial respect. For him, as we become experts at completing some everyday routine, the world increasingly draws us to act in one optimal, approp...


57 reads

The Problem With The Mechanistic Conception

One inclined to agree with this mechanistic conception of habit as inherently unintelligent might argue that the puzzle referred above is simply ill-posed. On this analysis, any attempt to construe habits as intelligence-involving straightforwardly confuses habit and skill. An im...


116 reads

“The Only Way To Work”

As this unconscious belief becomes entrenched, it might also become recalcitrant to counterevidence. I might, for instance, accidentally take this route to the office even after I am informed and sincerely convinced that there is a more efficient route. According to intel...


98 reads

The Problem With The Intellectualist Conception

This intellectualist view of habits as a form of belief, however, also has serious problems in accounting for their intelligent aspect. Habits are, as our above examples show, often exquisitely context-sensitive. But if Stanley takes habitual doings to be intelligent only...


90 reads

“The Best Way To Work”

An example: in my initial weeks at a new workplace, I will have developed a belief about how I could successfully get to the office. Through my daily commute, this belief gradually becomes entirely automatic and unconscious. At this stage, I do not need to consciously consider wh...


106 reads

Habits: Everyday Coping Practices?

Habit is the foundation of the routines that comprise the vast bulk of our everyday lives. When we are not disturbed, we live our practical lives without engaging in anything like a cautious assessment of what it is we are doing at any given moment. No conscious deliberation or r...


700 reads

The Need For An Alternative Conception

It is also unclear how unconscious neural processes can even involve beliefs (philosophers have tried in vain for decades to provide a satisfactory account of how they might). As such, if an alternative notion of habits can successfully explain their context-sensitivity w...


78 reads

The Mechanistic Conception Vs The Intellectualist Conception

In opposition to the mechanistic conception of habits, some, such as the philosopher Jason Stanley, advocate for an intellectualist conception, on which habits are intelligent because they are really a kind of ‘settled belief’ about ways of achieving certain goals.


122 reads

Habits Are Omni-Sacks

In other words, our habitual doings are intelligently adjusted to context precisely because we perceive the environment in which they have been cultivated in terms of the vast and discriminating habitual responses we might make to it. Habits, seen through this pragmatist lens, then, far f...


56 reads

Habit And Intelligence Are Not Mutually Exclusive

One sure-fire way to cut right through this dichotomy is to note that, while habits can distort our goals, they can also be exquisitely context-sensitive. Accounting for this context-sensitivity will require acknowledging the pivotal role perceptual skills play in guiding our habitual doi...


57 reads

A Habit Is A Robotization

In On Habit (2014), Clare Carlisle notes that this sort of characterisation of habit – as unintelligent and “a degradation of life, reducing spontaneity and vitality to mechanical routine” – has been held by many influential philosophers of the mind throughout history, i...


148 reads


Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.



129 reads

Habits Aren’t Skills. But Habits Often Comprise Skills.

On the other hand, habits often comprise skills. Consider the habit of whistling when you are bored. This is a considerably skilful act, which can in some cases constitute genuine musical expertise. For just these reasons, introducing a clear-cut distinction betw...


117 reads




“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

“Habit is a second nature that destroys the first. But what is nature? Why is habit not natural? I am very much afraid that nature itself is only a first habit, just as habit is a second nature.” - Blaise Pascal

Related collections

More like this

How Do I Know if a Habit is Good or Bad?

Generally speaking, good habits will have net positive outcomes. Bad habits have net negative outcomes.

If you’re still having trouble determining how to rate a particular habit, here is a question I like ...

The Hard Stuff

Taking on the challenging and difficult things at the beginning of the day is a powerful habit.

Good habits may be small but having a daily routine gives compound interest, triggering a series of other powerful habits. Even a small habit can be an entry point to set your day in...

Benefits of Habits

Benefits of Habits

A well-crafted set of habits ensures we reach our goals with incremental steps.

  • Habits can lead to overshooting our goals. A habit of reading a page a day can lead to reading more on some days, and so finish that book sooner.
  • After building a habit, it ...


Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas


Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.


2 Million Stashers


5,740 Reviews

App Store


72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.


Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.


I agree to receive email updates