from the world's big
Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
- Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
- Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
- It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
However, this might be a misconception with drastic implications.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODYyOTU3Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDk1NDU0MH0.U5DEamTbKxetex8uOBkoyoPu4mKwvVVu7wbOWC59qpc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C302%2C0%2C292&height=700" id="457d4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3f67fa142bc3555cd0db81481ccb8b26" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The puritans, masters of self-denial and hard work. Is the idea that people who trade fun for achievement by means of self-control suffer true? (Getty Images/engraving by Richard Taylor from The Illustrated London News)<p>In 2013, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopy.12050" target="_blank">a study</a> by <a href="https://newfaculty.uchicago.edu/page/wilhelm-hofmann" target="_blank">professor William Hofmann</a> and others was published in the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14676494" target="_blank"><em>Journal of Personality</em> </a>focusing on the relationship between happiness and self-control. Defining self-control as, "the ability to override or change one's inner responses, as well as interrupt undesired behavioral tendencies (such as impulses) and refrain from acting on them," the researchers hoped to find out if our stereotype of the miserable self-disciplined puritan was true or not. </p><p>The study consisted of three experiments designed to see how happiness was affected by the trait of self-control (TSC) over both the short and long run. The first test had 414 test subjects deciding how well certain statements described them (e.g. "I do certain things that are bad for me, if they are fun") and then filling out a report explaining how happy they were at that moment and how satisfied they were with their lives overall. </p><p>The subjects' responses hinted at a correlation between not only self-control and life satisfaction, but also between self-control and "positive affect," which includes positive emotions, sentiments, and experiences experienced on a daily basis. </p><p>So much for the idea that self-control makes you unhappy.</p>