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How Self-Control Works, and How to Boost Your Willpower by Better Understanding It

If we were entirely logical, we'd be able to abandon our bad habits, curb temporary moments of insanity, and practice self-control. Our logic is paired with emotion, however, and sometimes our emotions motivate us to make poor decisions. That's where self-control comes in. Here's a deeper look into how self-control works, followed by several ways to more effectively exert your supply of self-control in order to make smarter decisions.

Back when basic survival was difficult, practicing the kind of self-control we need today wasn't always necessary. We'd have to hunt for our food if we wanted to eat, and we'd eat what we could find in order to live. Eventually we figured out that this isn't the most efficient way to work and invented one of the biggest life hacks of all time: agriculture. Suddenly there was food when we needed it, and what was once a constant fight for survival became (relatively) simple. Readily-available food made it possible for a surplus of certain foods which made it possible to overeat. It took a long time for this to become a serious problem, but today we face a problem of excess consumption. Shifts such as this helped create a serious need for self-control in new aspects of our lives.

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DISCUSSION

Anekanta
Anekanta - spoon denier

Um. I'm all for willpower, but Agriculture was a mixed blessing; and it's generally vastly more labour intensive than foraging. Farmers endure backbreaking labour for nearly the whole day. Hunter gatherers spend only a few hours a day looking for food, and they're not bent over with their hands in the dirt the whole time.

More likely agriculture came about due to a mixture of climate changes, population spikes, and social / political restructuring than any sort of reduction in labour. (well, unless you mean reduction in labour for the other new innovation that came along at the same time: upper classes that exploited the peasants).