Tuesday, October 19, 2010

self-fulfilling beliefs

I forgot the point that I started with when writing the last thing and went off on an unexpected tangent. (It's a good thing I'm not a writer - I'd have to actually plan and edit things... Hmm maybe there is an open niche for a nonfiction Faulkner. See look at this, an unnecessary parenthetical comment is already too long of a tangent to legitimately be in parentheses anymore.)

Anyway... If you believe you hold more control over your life than someone else, you exert more effort controlling your life since you believe the payoffs to that effort will be higher, and lo and behold, you end up having more control over your life than that other person. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Same thing applies to beliefs about yourself. "Fake it 'til you make it" doesn't just apply to fooling an audience you're trying to impress, it also applies to fooling yourself.

And according to a new study, people who believe that self-control is not a limited resource have much more stamina than others. And no, it's not just that those who have lots of stamina believe in unlimited willpower: groups of experiment participants were exogenously manipulated with information suggesting (or not) the limitations of willpower, and that information determined their later stamina.

Cool.

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