Improvement Pill here.
Welcome to lesson #8 of the Tamed Course.
In the previous lessons we learned about how habits worked,
then you picked out a habit to build
over the course of the next couple of months,
and then we started talking about willpower, how that works
and how we can become more efficient with the way we spend our willpower.
If you have not watched any of those videos just,
I highly suggest you pause this video right now,
and click on the link in the description below,
which will bring you to a playlist
with all the Tamed Lessons in chronological order.
Because If you really want to change your life
and get rid of those bad habits,
you need to take this course seriously.
This means watching all the videos and making sure that you watch them to the very end.
We now know that our levels of willpower
are drained throughout the day due to a variety of things.
This can cause us to enter a state of ego depletion
where it becomes super easy to become impulsive
and slack off on our good habits.
So it’s crucial to avoid staying in this state for too long.
And that brings up the question, well,
how in the world do we recharge our levels of willpower,
so that if we ever enter a state of ego depletion,
we can get out of it?
我想 以这项研究开始这节课 再恰当不过了
I think the best way to start off this lesson is by looking at a study
that was conducted at Columbia University by Professor Jonathan Levav.
His team looked at over a thousand cases of judges who worked on the parole board.
These judges had to decide whether or not a prisoner should be released to the public.
The researchers noticed something very interesting.
The biggest indicator of whether or not a prisoner was granted parole
was not the type of crimes they committed,
the amount of years they already served,
or even how good-mannered they were in prison.
It was actually just the time of day they showed up in court.
The study found that prisoners who appeared early in the morning
had the highest chance of approval – a 65% chance.
However, as the day went on these rates of approval would decline.
This decline was so significant
that prisoners who appeared later in the morning right before lunch time
only had a 20% chance of getting approved.
Why is this?
Well it’s because each time the judge makes a decision
he uses up some of his willpower.
This is called “decision fatigue”,
which we discussed in depth in our previous lesson.
As the judges’ level of willpower drops
it becomes harder and harder for him or her to make these decisions.
So the judges would simply deny the request for parole
as it was the safer option, right?
Because if you’re a judge,
and you’re not sure what the right decision is,
it’s safer to keep the prisoner in jail than to let them out.
Around noon the judges would go on a lunch break.
When he returned, all of a sudden the rate of approval
would spike back up to around 60%.
This study shows us just how much of a difference we can make
if we recharge our levels of willpower.
And the way we do it all comes down to two things
the judges did during their short lunch break.
The first is by eating food.
We all know that our body needs food in order to function.
So it’s no surprise that it has a direct effect
on our levels of willpower.
But we can’t just stuff ourselves with junk food or sweets
and expect to feel great after.
A study was conducted on a large group of high school students in 2007.
The researchers split the students into 3 groups.
The first group was given a low-glycemic breakfast
which included foods like eggs and grapefruit.
For those of you that don’t know what the glycemic index is,
it’s basically the effect a food has on your blood glucose levels.
The lower a food’s glycemic index is,
the slower it raises your blood glucose level.
Ok so, the second group was given a high-glycemic breakfast,
so foods like muffins and pop-tarts.
The third and final group was the control group
and they were told to completely skip breakfast altogether.
Then the researchers asked the teachers
who did not know what their students had for breakfast
to rate each of their students during their morning classes
which lasted from about 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM.
The students were rated on their academic performance,
which included things like how focused they were during class,
and how well behaved they were.
The students who had the low-glycemic breakfast did very well.
Almost all of them scored high on their academic performance for the entire morning.
The students who had a high-glycemic breakfast
did well during the first hour of class.
But after around 9:00 AM they started to lose their focus
and their academic performance dropped.
The students who skipped breakfast did the worst.
They had an extremely hard time paying attention
and were very, very disruptive.
They had the lowest academic performance score of all three groups.
So what does this study show us?
Well it shows us that there’s a connection
between our blood glucose levels and our levels of willpower.
See our brains actually need glucose in order to operate.
But high-glycemic foods like muffins are digested very, very fast.
So for a short period of time you’ll have a lot of fuel for your brain,
but soon after this fuel runs out.
And this is why the students who ate high-glycemic foods for breakfast
stopped performing well after 9:00AM.
because they no longer had fuel for their brain.
Without fuel, you can’t recharge your willpower.
On the other hand, low-glycemic foods like eggs take much longer to digest.
And because of this they provide a steady increase
in blood glucose levels but for a long period of time.
The students who ate a low-glycemic breakfast
received fuel all morning,
and because of this, they were able to maintain their levels of willpower and perform well.
The students who completely skipped breakfast had no fuel,
and because of this, they performed the worst.
Interestingly enough, after the morning classes,
all 3 groups were given the same meal for lunch.
The teachers then reported no difference in academic performance
between the 3 groups for the afternoon classes.
So if you want to recharge your levels of willpower,
it’s best to eat low-glycemic foods
比如肉类 蔬菜 坚果 甚至某些水果
like meats, veggies, nuts, or even certain fruits.
The next way we can recharge our levels of willpower
is by switching our brain’s mode.
When we have to deal with things like decision fatigue or mental processes
our brain is on something called “Thinking Mode”.
In this mode our levels of willpower are being constantly drained.
Kind of like the battery levels on your phone when you’re watching videos.
Like, it goes down pretty fast.
In order for us to effectively recharge our levels of willpower
we have to switch our brain to what’s called “Standby Mode”.
This is equivalent to turning your phone off and allowing it to charge.
And as we all know our phones charge significantly faster
if we’re not using them at the same time.
When you’re in Standby Mode, you’re not making any tough decisions,
and you’re not thinking hard about anything.
You’re allowing your mind to wander naturally
and you’re enjoying the things around you.
For example, a great way to enter Standby Mode
is to go out for a short walk.
When you go out for a walk
you’re suddenly surrounded by a bunch of other things.
There’s trees to look at, there’s birds to listen to,
and you allow yourself to take a break
from all the work you’ve been doing.
Studies have actually shown that walking around the block for just 5 to 10 minutes
gives our brain enough time to recharge a significant amount of willpower.
Now there are countless other ways you can enter Standby Mode.
So it’s really up to you to decide what you want to do.
Personally, when I work,
I tend to work for about 2-3 hours at a time.
When I feel like I’ve drained a decent amount of willpower,
I’ll switch off Thinking Mode
by watching some entertaining YouTube videos
or an episode of a Netflix series
or even just chatting with some of my friends.
After about 30 minutes of this,
my willpower levels will naturally recharge,
and I’ll return to my work.
If you’re someone who thinks way too much,
and you have a hard time switching off Thinking Mode,
you have a hard time relaxing,
I suggest you look into the habit of meditation.
In fact there’s a very high chance
that meditation would be the best keystone habit for you.
This is because if you get into the habit of meditating,
your ability to quiet your mind and control your thoughts will improve dramatically.
I have a couple of videos on meditation, its benefits, and how to do it,
which I will link to in the description below.
The third and final way we can recharge our levels of willpower
is also the most important.
And that’s by getting proper sleep.
When we sleep, a variety of things happen.
For one, we allow our brain to switch off Thinking Mode for an extended period of time,
which allows our willpower to completely recharge.
Some of you are probably thinking, well,
how is our willpower recharging?
If we’re not eating anything while we’re asleep,
how do we get that glucose that fuels our brain?
Well it’s actually because when we’re asleep
our brain requires significantly less glucose
and our body also becomes more efficient
with the glucose that’s already in our blood stream.
So you don’t have to eat anything at night to recharge your willpower.
What’s interesting is that if you don’t get enough sleep
your body’s ability to process glucose gets impaired.
Which explains why most people tend to perform terribly
when it comes to sticking to their habits
if they don’t get enough sleep the previous night.
So to sum it all up,
there’s three things you can do to recharge your levels of willpower.
用餐时要多吃低升糖指数食物 比如肉类 蔬菜
You should eat a lot of low-glycemic foods for your meals like meats and veggies
少吃高升糖指数食物 比如松饼 华夫饼
instead of high-glycemic foods like waffles and pancakes.
You should relax when you feel yourself entering a state of ego depletion
by turning off Thinking Mode and entering Standby Mode.
And most importantly, you must get a good night’s rest.
I do want to clarify one thing.
What we covered today was just the biological ways our body recharges our willpower.
For quite some time now it was believed
that these accounted for the majority of the willpower
we have throughout the day.
But recent studies point to the fact
that the biggest influence is actually what goes on in our head,
how we view willpower and our motivations.
These psychological factors may actually have
more of an influence on our levels of willpower than these biological factors.
So we will discuss these psychological factors in our nextlesson.
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Besides that guys, stay tuned!