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Our brain needs simple to use its' 'willpower powers'.

A Stanford experiment by Baba Shiv was conducted to see how willpower is affected by how much we have to use our brains. In his book, How We Decide, Jonah Leher explains how Professor Shiv's took several dozen undergraduate students and divided them into two groups.

"One group was given a two-digit number to remember, while the second group was given a seven-digit number. After they memorized the numbers, they were told to walk down the hall, where they were presented with two different snack options: a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad."

The results of the experiment are fascinating. The 7-digit testers were more than twice as likely to accept the cake vs. the fruit than the 2-digit students.  Wow, if any of us were involved in this experiment, we would most likely have chosen the chocolate cake if we had to remember just five more numbers. Odds are our willpower would have made the better choice of "fruit" if we were only memorizing a 2-digit number...why?

Professor Shiv explains that those extra numbers took up valuable space in the brain — they were a "cognitive load" — making it that much harder to resist a decadent dessert. In other words, willpower is so weak, and the prefrontal cortex is so overtaxed, that all it takes is five extra bits of information before the brain starts to give in to temptation."


The part of our brain that we count on for rational, reasonable, and 'do the right thing' decisions is fragile. It can easily be defeated by temptation, especially if it feels like it deserves it because we have given it five extra digits to remember.


Simple wins on the field or court because our teams execute much better.  Simple wins with our brains because it doesn't overload our willpower .  Just like the pencil vs. the pen in part 1, you need to focus on simple.

Your brain and willpower will thank you.

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