Achieving Self-Control: It's About Delaying Gratification
Exerting self-control often means coping with emotions that tell us to indulge, feel melancholy, or focus on the negative.
Achieving self-control, avoiding negative emotions, and finding ways to stay productive are lessons that Columbia psychology professor Walter Mischel has approached through scientific examinations for the last 50 years. Most famous for the marshmallow test, in which children were offered cookies and told they could have another if they waited but 15 minutes to eat the first, Mischel is preparing for a nation-wide book tour at the age of 88.
What adults can learn from children about self-control, he says, is that:
"The children who succeed turn their backs on the cookie, push it away, pretend it’s something nonedible like a piece of wood, or invent a song. Instead of staring down the cookie, they transform it into something with less of a throbbing pull on them."
Exerting self-control often means coping with emotions that tell us to indulge, feel melancholy, or focus on the negative. One strategy, says Mischel, is using if statements such as "if it's before noon, I won't check Facebook." If the impulse to use Facebook in the morning arises, this phrase can give your mind a small buffer zone to reason its way out of caving to the base desire.
The reason our emotions so often seem counterproductive is that they were built for a world of scarcity and immediate threats to our bodily integrity, not a world in which a better spiritual self can be cultivated as a result of material abundance. As Paul Ekman explains, a tool called consciousness awareness can help us recognize our less-beneficial emotions as a first step toward overcoming them:
Read more at the New York Times
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
A new paradigm for machine vision has just been demonstrated.
- Scientists have invented a way for a sheet of glass to perform neural computing.
- The glass uses light patterns to identify images without a computer or power.
- It's image recognition at the speed of light.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
"A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain," Musk said, referring to tests of the device.
- Neuralink seeks to build a brain-machine interface that would connect human brains with computers.
- No tests have been performed in humans, but the company hopes to obtain FDA approval and begin human trials in 2020.
- Musk said the technology essentially provides humans the option of "merging with AI."