…and I thought self control was always a good thing.

Sometimes you have to admit that everything you thought was wrong was (possibly) right. Could it be that all those good habits, all that resisting temptation and weeks of denial were for nothing?

Is it possible that beating myself up after the third chocolate digestive and saying “no” to things that would have been fun but would have distracted me from my goals may well have done me more good than harm?

I now find out that there is a “Dark Side” to self control. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kokoris and Stavrova point out the downsides of resisting temptation.

It is true that people with strong self control have better health, relationships, finances and careers and fewer problems with overeating, overspending, procrastination and unethical behaviour.

However there is a downside:

Self control:

  • Can restrict emotional experiences.

  • May lead to long term regret.

  • Can lead to increased workload.

  • Can be used for ill.

  • Isn’t for everyone.

  • Can lead to long term bias.

Before being full on about “self control” perhaps we should practice some “self compassion”, learn to know and like ourselves, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack and be more realistic.

Read the full paper HERE

I’ll have another marshmallow now please.

The Monday Morning Quote #585

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

Confucius

 

The Monday Morning Quote #582

Success or Failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity, successful men people act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something.

Soon it becomes a reality.

Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.

William James

“I wish someone told me” Ira Glass

My thanks to Will Rees for sharing this.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. 

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. 

But there is this gap. 

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. 

It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 

And your taste is why your work disappoints you. 

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. 

We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. 

We all go through this. 

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. 

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. 

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. 

And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. 

It’s gonna take awhile. 

It’s normal to take awhile. 

You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Professionals come in two varieties…

“But there are two basic kinds of professional, Harkness saw in a moment of self-congratulatory illumination. There’s the professionalism that does something well enough to earn a living from it. And there’s the professionalism that creates a commitment so intense that the earning of a living happens by the way. Its dynamic isn’t wages but the determination to do something as well as it can be done.

Laidlaw was the second type of professional. Harkness realised it was a very uncomfortable thing to be because, in their work, ‘well’ involved not just results but the morality by which you arrived at them. He thought of Laidlaw’s capacity to bring constant doubt to what he was doing and still try to do it. The pressure must be severe.”

From “Laidlaw” by William McIlvanney

The Binge Listen #1 – Don’t Tell Me The Score

I came across the “Don’t Tell Me The Score” podcast a week or so ago and have listened to the eleven episodes whilst wrestling with wood over the past couple of days – one great advantage of the ear protectors that I employ whilst using the chain-saw is that they both isolate me and keep my headphones in place.

The premise of this BBC Radio 4 podcast is that sport can teach us a great deal about life. Presenter Simon Mundie interviews at length his guest, who has direct association with sport as a player, coach, writer, or scientist. I particularly enjoyed Ben Ryan on Motivation, Mike Brearley on Leadership and James Kerr on Legacy. There are lessons to be learned from each and every episodes and I thoroughly recommend it. More books to read! If they are as good as “Legacy” then I’m going to enjoy myself.

Available from all good podcast sources and the BBC website.

PS – One small criticism – Simon I do wish you wouldn’t keep mentioning England winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003 as if it was the greatest achievement in history – or indeed a surprise. Whilst it sticks in my craw to say it they were the best team both in the tournament and during the year leading up to it, so victory was deserved.

 

War and Peace 45 years on…

It’s never too late to set new goals or to revisit old ones and, as long as you persist, just about anything is achievable (even passing A-levels).

I eventually passed my A-levels in August 1973, (with grateful thanks to the lecturers at Harrogate Tech). I asked my father if he could get me a copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, the book, or rather books as there were two volumes, was published by William Collins for whom my Dad worked, based in their office in the Corn Exchange in Leeds.

Then, as now, whenever I buy a new book I sign my name and the date inside the front cover.

The scrawl has become more flamboyant and less decipherable over the years but is still recognisable.

I had started to read Tolstoy’s Magnum Opus at several times since then, but never got beyond the first chapter. This summer, 45 years on from that date in August 1973 I determined to get through both volumes, in all 1443 pages, by the end of the year. I put aside 30 minutes after lunch and when I had finished work every day whilst at home, but as I travel a good deal there were gaps between sessions. Thankfully there are relatively short chapters so it was straightforward to complete the day’s task at convenient points.

This “small steps” approach did the trick, I was able to get involved in the plot lines and the characters  of the novel without having to rush. Tolstoy’s writing is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Russia in the first two decades of the 19th Century. It’s a great book and I recommend it to you, there are lessons to  learn that still apply to each of us in our daily lives.

The point about goals being 1)Specific, 2)Measurable, 3)Achievable, 4)Relevant and 5)Timely, is well made. In this case, I wanted to read the book from beginning to end, so that takes care of 1) & 2). I can read and short of going under a bus (or my finding the book unreadable) I knew I could manage 3). It was relevant to my overall life plan 4) which includes tackling some “big” reads and 5) I set an end point of December 31st 2018, knowing that if I had to do some catching up I had the Christmas period to complete the task.

Should you be setting goals in your business or personal life then I hope this might inspire you.

PS when we moved into our home in West Cork five years ago, there were no fewer than three separate volumes of War & Peace amongst our books – the enthusiasm had obviously been there but we had allowed life to get in the way.


%d bloggers like this: