We're Only Human: Try a Little Powerlessness; July/August 2009; Scientific American Mind; by Wray Herbert; 2 Page(s)
Self-control is one of our most cherished values. We applaud those who have the discipline to regulate their appetites and actions, and we try hard to instill this virtue in our children. Think of the marketing slogans that key off the desire for restraint: "Just say no." "Just do it." We celebrate the power of the mind to make hard choices, despite our emotions or other temptations, and keep us on course.
But what if we can't just do it? What if "it" is too difficult or if our strategy for success is misguided? Is it possible that willpower actually might be an obstacle rather than a means to happiness and harmony? Can we have too much of a good thing?