#1575 Areté +1° #257: Want Willpower?

Play Offense, Not Defense

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from our new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

This is another micro-chapter from the fifth Objective on self-mastery. I'd say this Objective and Forging Antifragile Confidence are my favorites.

Here's the idea…


Most of us wonder how we can have more willpower in those moments of temptation.

But Roy Baumeister—the world’s leading expert on willpower—tells us that the people who use their willpower wisely don’t actually use it to deal with that many temptations.

When we chatted, Roy told me that willpower exemplars play OFFENSE with their willpower not defense.

How? Let’s say you don’t want to eat sugary cookies anymore. (Good decision!)

The way to play offense is simple. Never buy the tempting cookies again. You want to, as Tom Rath says, “Buy your willpower at the store” so you don’t need to use it at home.

The less effective “defensive” strategy? Buying those cookies and then trying not to eat them.

When are you most likely to eat that junk?

Answer: When you feel the worst and your willpower is at its most depleted state, of course.

That’s how you play OFFENSE not defense.

Think about one of your bad habits. Now think about how you could play OFFENSE with your willpower to create an environment where you’re simply not exposed to that temptation.

Got it? Fantastic.

Go run your offense and win the ultimate game, Hero.

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