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How self-control can actually unleash your dark side

Self Control And Moral Character

People with high levels of self-control are generally seen to be healthy, well-rounded individuals who are ideally less likely to act violently or aggressively.

New research shows that this behaviour pattern may be to gain acceptance and tread the social norms as a means to one’s end, being selfish and self-centred in private.

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How self-control can actually unleash your dark side

How self-control can actually unleash your dark side

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200827-how-self-control-can-actually-unleash-your-dark-side

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

The Dark Side Of Self Control

Agreeable, organized individuals seem to have a suppressed, dark side in their personality.

Model citizens, and people with high self-control, and those who are resistant to impulsive behaviour in daily life, maybe ‘bursting’ out their inner desires in one go all of a sudden, letting go of their willpower and even morality.

Self Control And Moral Character

People with high levels of self-control are generally seen to be healthy, well-rounded individuals who are ideally less likely to act violently or aggressively.

New research shows that this behaviour pattern may be to gain acceptance and tread the social norms as a means to one’s end, being selfish and self-centred in private.

High Self-Control

People with high self-control have a surprising behavioural trait of being shrewd and cruel according to various studies:

  1. They are more likely to cover up an anti-social act to avoid getting caught, like for dangerous driving.
  2. They ended up being keener to kill hundreds of bugs in a grinder, without any feeling of remorse.
  3. They electrocuted their opponents in a TV game to a much higher degree than others, not knowing that the electrocution is being feigned by the contestant.

But more research needs to be done before we slot someone’s moral values and behavioural traits into predictable patterns.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Brute willpower doesn't work

So we should stop worshiping self-control and start thinking about diluting the power of temptation. Because resisting temptation either only has short-term gains or can be an outright failu...

Willpower is not the lucky ticket to success

Studies have shown that people that are really good at achieving their goals are not the ones that put more effort into exerting self-control in the face of temptations, but the ones that experience fewer temptations to start with.

People who are good at self-control
  • They actually enjoy the activities some of us resist (eating healthy, studying, exercising)
  • They have better decision-making habits
  • Some people just experience fewer temptations
  • It’s easier to have self-control when you’re wealthy - when you’re poor, the future is less certain.

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Self-Control

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

Research on Self-Control
  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 
Motivation and Monitoring

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.

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Self-control

We all possess the ability to develop self-control. 

Instead of immediately responding to impulses, we can plan and evaluate our actions beforehand.

Master Self-control
  • Eat. Our brains need fuel to run properly, and when that fuel runs low, the brain has difficulty regulating our emotions. Eat high protein foods.
  • Meditate. Devote a few minutes a day to simply focusing on your breath and your senses. You will be calmer and your decision making will be sounder.
  • Sleep. Your brain’s ability to absorb glucose is significantly diminished without rest. Stay consistent with your sleep every night.
  • Exercise.
  • Force Yourself until a new habit is formed.
  • Get Others Involved. Find a support system.
  • Do Your Research. Whatever your struggle, make it your priority to be the master of it.
Social norms

People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desi...

Common reasons for conforming
  • One common explanation: we that if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do.
  • Another common explanation: we fear that failing to follow a norm may have negative social consequences.
The self-categorization theory

The idea of the self-categorization theory is that people conform to the norms of certain social groups whenever they have a personal desire to feel like they belong.

It is irrelevant whether a norm reflects people's preference, as long as the behavior is associated with the group.

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Self-control
Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

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Self-Control Components

Self-control has two components:

  • Our ability to resist temptations
  • Our ability to exercise control over our behaviour and emotions.
  • ...
Self Control and Eating Healthy

While it’s obvious we need to exhibit a certain amount of self-control while choosing what we put in our bodies, that is not the whole story.

If we educate our bodies and learn about nutrition, longevity and how our individual bodies function, we could be eating a lot healthier.

The Pleasures Of Life

There is a lot of stuff available for us to do that makes us feel better instantly. Watching TV, going to the beach, drinking alcohol, smoking, and almost every other activity that seems pleasurable to us, giving us temporary pleasure in a jiffy. When we keep doing that, the long term effects are bad, and we feel older, weaker, sicker, while not having any achievement in our lives.

This is a natural process of a slow movement towards disorder, is also the second law of thermodynamics, called Entropy.

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The art of eating
The art of eating

... is a question of psychology as much as nutrition. We have to find a way to want to eat what’s good for us.

We make frequent attempts – more or less half-hearted – to change what we...

Food preferences are learned

All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat.  Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. 

But in today’s food culture, many people seem to have acquired uncannily homogenous tastes: food companies push foods high in sugar, fat and salt, which means we are innately incapable of resisting them but that the more frequently we eat them, especially in childhood, the more they train us to expect all food to taste this way.

0.3% of young women are anorexic

... and another 1% are bulimic, with rising numbers of men joining them.

What statistics are not particularly effective at telling us is how many others – whether overweight or underweight – are in a perpetual state of anxiety about what they consume, living in fear of carbs or fat grams and unable to derive straightforward enjoyment from meals.

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The Allure Of Authority
The Allure Of Authority

Many people are susceptible to follow and be ruled by an authority figure and obey commands that defy logic, reasoning and are also unfair or dangerous to others.

F...

Reasons How Authoritarians Control People
  1. Most people blindly follow a figure of authority due to an inbuilt culture of obedience, where positional power eclipses any sound judgement.
  2. Authoritarians ensure most of the information never reaches people, by discrediting or cutting off the information sources.
  3. They use incremental action by gradually increasing the demands that are made on others.
  4. They ensure that people don’t have any personal responsibility for their actions. Example: Managers hiding behind company policy to justify unfairness at the workplace.
  5. They use the power of fear by discrediting facts, scapegoating, polarization, and divide and rule tactics.
The Two Roads Of Our Brain

Normally, we utilize the ‘high road’, the main regions of the brain (thoughtfulness and reasoning) before any information reaches the amygdala (region of emotional response).

When a brain reacts due to any kind of threat, the main brain regions are skipped as the ‘low road’ is taken, sending the information directly to the emotional processing region, activating stress, anxiety and fear-based reactions.

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Stoicism asserts that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what yo...

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where wil...

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”  -  Epictetus:

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