Managing your desires

One of the most prolific studies ever conducted on managing desires was done in Germany. The study included over 200 men and women wearing beepers. These Germans wore beepers that went off at random intervals seven times a day, prompting them to report whether they were currently experiencing some sort of desire or had recently felt such a desire. The painstaking study, led by Wilhelm Hofmann, collected more than ten thousand momentary reports from morning until midnight.

Desire turned out to be the norm, not the exception. About half the time , people were feeling some desire at the moment their beepers went off, and another quarter said a desire had just been felt in the past few minutes. Many of these desires were ones they were trying to resist. The researchers concluded that people spend at least a fifth of their waking hours resisting desires, between three and four hours per day.

The most commonly resisted desire in the beeper study was the urge to eat, followed by the urge to sleep, and then by the urge of leisure, like taking a break from work to do a puzzle or game instead of writing a memo. Sexual urges were next on the list of most resisted desires. The people studied were relatively good at avoiding naps, sex, and the urge to spend money, but only mediocre at passing up food and soft drinks. When they tried resisting the lure of television, the Web, and other media sirens, they failed nearly half the time.

All day long you will be tempted by your desires.  Will you have the self-control to manage them or will you succumb to them?  This is what challenges us all each and every day. The most important and hardest person to lead is yourself. Be sure you have controls and systems in place to help yourself.

To your success and your future.

*Italics are words from the book Willpower, Rediscovering the greatest human strength; authors: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney.

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