Often, when we are working and we have trouble concentrating, we feel that we have to muster all of our strength and willpower to bring to the task at hand. And so we try even harder to force ourselves to focus on what we are doing.
In the very short term, this may produce some results. But experiments are showing that in the longer term, this is actually counterproductive because it just tires us out more. We actually use up our willpower.
What Science Shows
An experiment clearly showed how this works. Researchers divided about 70 people into two groups and put them into a room. One group got to eat freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, while the other group in the same room was told that they had to eat radishes. As you might expect, those in the radish group looked enviously at those munching on the cookies. Some even walked over to the other group so that they could better smell the aroma of the cookies.
Afterward, each group was asked to solve a difficult puzzle that demanded a good deal of persistence. Those in the chocolate chip group spent an average of 20 minutes on the puzzle. But those in the radish group spent only eight minutes on the puzzle. That’s because they had already used up a good deal of their willpower in resisting the chocolate chip cookies.
What this study showed is that willpower can be used up. It is not a skill to be learned but more like a muscle that can become fatigued the more you use it.
But happily, researchers have learned that willpower, just like muscles, can be strengthened through practice. But you have to do it the right way. And that is by just focusing on one goal at a time. You cannot do too much at once. For example, you may have a goal of losing weight and completing a big project at work, and you are chasing both goals at the same time. This is an example of biting off more than you can chew in terms of willpower – by chasing both goals, you end up depleting your willpower, and may have trouble achieving either one.
You need to stick to one goal at a time, start small, and move in manageable increments.
If you need to focus on finding a job, Opti Staffing can help you achieve your goal. Opti is one of the leading staffing firms in the Anchorage area, with the network and expertise to find the right job for you. Let Opti help you. Give us a call today.