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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Want More Willpower? Develop A Taste For Real Power

October 20, 2013, 10:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

In an experiment designed to measure willpower, researchers at the Technical University of Munich asked certain test subjects to reenact a scene from a popular movie in which a bullying father reprimands his son. During this reenactment, other subjects were asked to watch and took notes. They then asked the entire group to watch a funny clip from another movie without smiling or laughing. The subjects who portrayed the father were better at controlling their emotions than the rest of the group.

What's the Big Idea?

Willpower is a finite, easily-depleted resource, and some people have more of it than others. However, it's possible to increase willpower by imagining yourself in a position of power, say the researchers in a paper published in the online Journal of Personality. They go on to suggest that employers might take advantage of their workers' underlying motivations by giving leadership positions to those who enjoy directing people, and creative, results-oriented positions to those who seek approval.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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