In 1972, researchers at Stanford university conducted a study that has become famously known as the Marshmallow Test. Children were offered a reward, a treat of the child’s choosing, which was placed on the desk in front of them. But they were also offered the option of receiving two rewards if they waited to consume the treat until the researchers retuned 15 minutes later.
Since that time, hundreds of similar studies have been conducted, some over long periods of time, and have determined that impulse control has an enormous impact on the quality of a person’s life.
People with the ability to control their impulses are more independent, have more friends, make better choices, perform better in school, exercise more regularly, have more success professionally, are significantly less likely to participate in dangerous and self-destructive risky behavior, develop broader vocabularies, have happier and longer primary relationships, feel more confident and have higher levels of self-esteem.
What exactly is impulse control? The ability to control the desire for immediate gratification.
So, how would you rate your own impulse control? Are you an impulsive person? Are you becoming more impulsive? Is impulsivity a problem for you?
There are very few people in our society who are not experiencing increasing levels of impulsivity and all the soul-destroying consequences that flow from it. What is impulsivity? Impulsivity is rapid, unplanned, reactions to internal or external stimuli, with diminished regard for the negative consequences for yourself or others.
What is causing this rise of impulsivity in our culture? The culprit is in your pocket or purse. The smartphones that are making us dumb are driving impulsivity through the roof.
Impulse control and the ability to delay gratification are essential ingredients if we want to flourish and live life to the fullest. Your phone is robbing you of your impulse control. If you think that’s not true, try to ignore it when it rings, beeps, vibrates, sends a notification, or any of the many other things it does to distract you from what you are actually doing.
Ignore your phone at least once a day. This habit alone will increase your impulse control, and everything improves as our impulse control grows.
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