According to WHO, in the third world, young people in the world most often die from pneumonia, HIV, intestinal infections - their life depends on the equipment of the nearest hospital. In the developed countries of Europe, everything is different: the main causes of death are coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. The ten leaders also include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, hypertension. All of these dangers have one thing in common. A resident of a developed country significantly approaches his death if he has poorly developed willpower.
Of course, a non-smoker can get lung cancer, and colon cancer affects not only those who ignore vegetables and eat a lot of fatty meat. But nevertheless, the probability of dying in the color of years is greater for the one who smokes and crunches chips while watching endless TV shows than for a sports transhumanist who is fond of fish and seafood.
I decided to talk about this topic, because each of us, during the project, manifests tremendous willpower. Volunteer needs the willpower to: learn a new language, exit the comfort zone, socially adapt, accept a new job, etc. Without it, we would all be at home, and not develop.
Youth doomed to success.
Not only willpower is a matter of survival. Strong-willed people on average are more prosperous. You probably heard about the Stanford experiment with marshmallows, it's a marshmallow test. If not, you can easily find its modern adaptation on Youtube - the marshmallow test video. In the original experiment, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, psychology doctor Walter Michel and his colleagues gave preschoolers marshmallows and promised to bring another bite if they could not eat the first one until the experimenter returned. The children suffered terribly, turned away from the marshmallows with all their might, then still threw themselves at him, then turned away again - in general, they behaved the same way as we do when we walk in circles around the phone waiting for SMS from a new lover or around a pack of cigarettes during another attempt to quit smoking. In the end, of course, it turned out that those heroic children who still managed to wait for the second piece of marshmallows were better at school and generally had good ability to concentrate and self-control throughout their lives.
In 2011, Walter Michel once again gathered those subjects who had once been fed by marshmallows and gave them a new test. The subject had to press or ignore the button, depending on the image on the screen. Subjects did this while lying in a tomograph. It turned out that those who in childhood could not wait for the experimenter were mistaken more often than those who had once waited for the second piece of marshmallows. The latter had a more active frontal cortex - the part of the brain associated with self-control and decision-making. Those who did not wait forty years before this marshmallow had a relatively higher activity of the ventral striatum - this area of the brain is part of the reward system. That is, it can be said that people were prevented from waiting for the marshmallows (or refraining from pressing the button) because they react more vividly to the reward and tend to it more strongly. Walter Michel says nothing about which group of subjects feels happier in life.
This story shows that there is a cross effect of training: the accumulated willpower in one lesson will help in other matters. Try straightening your shoulders right now - perhaps this will help you quit smoking.