The psychologists discovered it was self-control, by a long shot. A child's capacity for self-discipline was about twice as important as his or her IQ when it came to predicting academic success....Via Greg Mankiw
Some people are simply more susceptible to temptations and distractions, and we all sometimes reach the limits of our willpower sooner than we would like. "Programs that build self-discipline may be the royal road to building academic achievement," psychologists Duckworth and Seligman conclude from their findings.
So what can we do to strengthen self-discipline, to transform ourselves from impulsive dollar-snatchers to lofty long-term investors in future success?
Help lies in seeing willpower as a muscle, recent research suggests. The "moral muscle", as it has been called, powers all of the difficult and taxing mental tasks that you set yourself.
[However,] studies show, if you draw on your reserves to achieve one unappealing goal - going for a jog, say - your moral muscle will be ineffective when you then call on it to help you switch off the television and start essay-writing.
What, then, can we do about this unfortunate tendency of the moral muscle to become fatigued with use? One option is to build it up and make it strong. Evidence is starting to accumulate that the moral muscle, like its physical counterpart, can become taut and bulging from regular exercise....
By regularly exercising self-restraint and virtue in all areas of life (moral muscle cross-training, we may call it), we will come to resist temptations with the same casual ease with which a world-class athlete sprints to catch a train.