Should you check your email just once more or keep on working? Jam that marshmallow in your mouth, or resist it? No matter how good instant gratification might feel, here’s a scientific case for delaying your rewards to double them.
If you’re one of the lucky ones endowed with strong willpower, you’re probably the envy of all your friends – and with good reason. Having strong willpower is a great predictor of success.
Self control depends on two systems: the hot system, which instantly reacts to the environment, and the cool system, which is responsible for controlled, rational behavior. It’s the hot system that gets us to give in to the temptation of eating that chocolate we shouldn’t or checking Facebook when we have a report due. By contrast, the cool system focuses our attention away from our impulses to instead engage in wholesome and productive behavior.