What is self-control?
Self-control is the ability to delay gratification. When you are able to delay gratification you are able to put off your need to have a reward until later. For example, a delay in gratification might be when it is that you have done something, lets just say you have loaded the dish washer, your gratification might be that you are expecting someone to say good job! For a person who can delay their need to have gratification, when the recognition does not come, are able to move on, do other things, and wait until their good deed becomes noticed. A person who does not have the ability to delay gratification will stop everything, demand the gratification, acknowledgment of their deed, immediately.
So what is the difference between the two?
For those that have the ability to delay gratification their self-control has been shown to result in better success in life. There are three problem levels that each of us has difficulty with: self, other, and the world. Self, is to do with your personal sense of well being, both physically and mentally. Other, is to do with the relationships that you have whether they be at home or at work. The world, is to do with how society functions and the ability to be able to follow societal rules.
Those that have the ability to delay gratification are able to override their impulses and urges. Whereas, those that do not have the ability to delay gratification have an overactive reward centre of the brain. The brain actually functions differently and is structured differently. For those that are able to delay gratification they have an overactive prefrontal cortex which elicits self- control. A study (TURMAN) has shown that people who are generally able to maintain self control have been shown to do better physically, psychologically, emotionally, have a tendency to be more educated, less likely to be convicted of a crime, less likely to get divorced, and have a longer and healthier life overall.
It is important to recognize that those that are generally able to maintain self control has very little to nothing to do with how smart you are. People who are generally able to maintain self- control has been shown to be a much more important predictor to how well a person does in school. Those that are generally able to maintain self-control are two times more likely to not only complete school but do well in school, then those that have a high IQ.
Everyone struggles with self-control at times. Self-control has to do with both persistence and strength to overcome obstacles. It is important to recognize that you are able to increase your ability to have self control with practice. It takes mental energy in order to be able to maintain self-control and each of us has a limited amount of energy. We are all naturally inclined to seek out routines because routines focus our attention and our energy and when we plan ahead it helps us to better be able to perform and meet our goals.
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