This was a pretty short read, a bit boring at times, and some of the content was anecdotal, but still useful to know. The author has given many talks on willpower and helped students get their bad habits under the control, so this book is a list of things that help with self discipline.
First off, it is important to know that the brain is extremely plastic, gray matter can grow as you exercise different regions of the brain: the physical layout of the brain changes as willpower does (mainly in the pre-frontal cortex region of the brain).
The brain wants dopamine, somewhat like a drug, anything that spikes dopamine production in the brain, can be addictive. The brain looks for dopamine as a reward in any daily activity (from social media to food).
The pleasure center of the brain is linked to the dopamine release center. However, this is actually a seeking behavior: a loop that never ends.
The pleasure center, releases pleasure, dopamine does not. The dopamine center creates the illusion that an activity will be pleasurable, but it never actually is, since the brain always wants more dopamine. We are driven to chase dopamine at all costs: online time-wasters, video games, social media etc.
Dopamine causes us to chase an activity regardless of what pleasure this will actually generate in the future. A study at movie theaters, found that selling stale popcorn had no effect on sales. People didn’t care that the popcorn was stale. The dopamine center was active due to the smell and people still ended up buying.
Marketing departments are aware of this. For example, scents at stores can cause us to want to shop, or can evoke unconscious feelings in us that make us spend more.
An other example to illustrate...Read more