Johnnie Moore

Willpower and its limits

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Nice report on research from Scientific American: Setting your mind on a goal may be counterproductive. Instead think of the future as an open question. They split people into two groups for a series of experiments. One group was primed for willpower (eg by having to write out the phrase “I will” multiple times); the other for curiosity (eg writing “Will I?”). The groups primed for curiosity went on to significantly outperform the wilful group. There’s a lesson there for control freaks of all stripes. As the post says

It indicates that those with questioning minds were more intrinsically motivated to change. They were looking for a positive inspiration from within rather than attempting to hold themselves to a rigid standard. Those asserting will lacked this internal inspiration which explains in part their weak commitment to future change. Put in terms of addiction recovery and self-improvement in general, those who were asserting their willpower were in effect closing their minds and narrowing their view of their future.

Hat tip: Tweet from Bruce Lewin

Share Post

More Posts

It’s all connected

Tim Kastelle passes on this rather nice Diderot quote from the new book Superconnect: Everything is linked together… beings are connected with each other by

Agile Procurement

Dominic Campbell’s challenge to clumsy government procurement has the best title of the year – It’s Time People Got Fired for Hiring IBM. The rest

Kindergarten kids beat MBAs

Tom Wujek’s TED talk explores how business training limits creative thinking. (Click here if embedded video isn’t showing.) Hat tips: Rob Paterson and Screw Work

Re-examining the familiar

I reread something I wrote back in 2006 about Ellen Langer’s work on mindful learning. She makes this point:When people overlearn a task so that

Empathy and innovation

Tim Kastelle has a good post about Empathy and Innovation. I’m fond of talking about “relationships before ideas” and Tim seems to be in similar

The power of touch

I’ve long thought that a clipboard was a powerful prop. I only have to hold one and I start to feel more officious. So it’s

Not trying too hard

Jocelyn Glei writes about What we can learn from babies. She talks about the kind of meditative state in which a particular kind of creative

Hold a meeting

I posted this cartoon about six years ago*. It’s one of those throwaway posts that I notice still gets picked up by others. I often

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

Picasso quote

Picasso: There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot

Johnnie Moore

Language pitfalls

Mark Earls writes about the pitfalls of language. In particular he looks at how European languages emphasise objects doing things to other objects. Other languages are much more into processes.