Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

How willpower works: the science of self-control

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Pragmatic Education


David Blaine spent 35 hours on a 80-foot pillar just 22 inches wide, without a safety harness, fighting hallucinations and the urge to nod off (and fall to his death). He spent 63 sleepless hours in a giant block of ice inches from his face. He spent 7 days inside a coffin with 6 inches of headspace. He spent 17 minutes underwater. He spent 44 days without food suspended above the Thames in a sealed transparent box, ranging from subfreezing to 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blaine is an endurance professional, and his stunts are not illusions; they are feats of willpower. Growing up, he trained himself in the discipline of self-control and deliberate practice. He studied the Victorian training of his childhood hero, Houdini, and forced himself to fast for ten days on just water by age 18. Long-term endurance training strengthened his willpower like a muscle.


In experiments…

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