Neuroscience and Your Career Success

What do effortful self-control and your career happiness have to do with each other? Quite a lot!

In The Neuroscience of Success, a fantastic Think Tank article by Jason Gots, effortful self-control is about willpower, and not just the age-old drive to achieve, either. As he says:

“The better able you are to resist your own natural impulses, the more effectively you can focus your mental energy on the task at hand, however pleasant or irritating it may be. The net result: getting more things done, and doing each thing better. ”

We all have things we don’t want to do, resenting the mere thought of them infringing on our personal freedom, putting them off day after day, getting stressed out when that Outlook reminder pops up for the eighth or seventeenth or hundredth time.

So how can you exercise this self-control in your daily job without burning yourself out of your career?

It’s about Work-Rest Balance: Conserving your willpower and maximizing your productivity.

Here’s one tip that we probably all know and probably many of us never do:

  • Take short breaks after willpower-intensive activities. Take a walk, have a bite to eat, make a non-strenuous phone call.
Whenever I’ve done this, whether it’s playing a five-minute game of Ping-Pong, walking to a friend’s cube for a chat or stepping outside for fresh air, I come back feeling refreshed and a lot less stressed than if I’d have just stayed at my desk and gone on to the next task I didn’t want to do. It really does work!
Now do yourself a non-stressful favor and make time to head over to the Think Tank to get the rest.

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