Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Power of Habit [Chapter 5]

Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups

Cindy Lyles

Making willpower an automatic act is the topic of “Starbucks and the Habit of Success” from Charles Duhigg's book. The chapter follows Travis Leach -- once an emotionally unstable high school dropout with drug addicted parents, who conquered his shortcomings after joining the Starbucks team. The coffee giant trains employees in life skills that help in both professional and personal lives. “At the core of that education,” notes Duhigg, “is an intense focus on an all-important habit:
willpower” (131).

Psychology expert Mark Muraven explains that willpower was once understood as a skill. However, further research shows that it operates as a muscle, “‘like the muscles in your arms or legs…’” (137). It seems the more willpower is exercised over time, such as biceps or triceps, the stronger it becomes.

Of the different scenes and instances associated with willpower mentioned in the chapter, which one drew your attention? Why or how so?


Katrina S said...

The senior citizens going through rehabilitation after hip surgery caught my attention the most. I think a lot of plans fail because people fail to consider the what if scenarios. Yes, you can have the willpower to do something but will you still have the willpower if something deviates from your plan.

I'm not a person that plans for a plan B if plan A doesn't work out. Plan A either works or it doesn't happen at all. However, this is because I consider what might go wrong with Plan A so that I won't need an entirely new plan. You have to plan ahead and consider everything, even the negative and how you will deal with it so it doesn't completely throw you off.

Julian Glover said...

The Travis Leach and Starbucks example was more compelling to me becaause not only am I familiar with the chain, but I belong to an organization that has taught me the importance of willpower. Early in life, we are socialized to either work to improve ourselves or to be content with our current output. From an early age, my parents, teachers, and family constantly pushed me to be the best that I could be.

I, however, did not realize the importance of their constant prodding until I did not succeed at something major in high school. My first reaction was to just quit the activity, but after trying again I found myself to be successful. This was an important lesson in willpower for me.

B.Jeffery said...

For me the Starbucks attempt to further motivate their employees and to see if the employee training could carryover was most interesting to me. It seemed to them that if they had conditioned the employees to have the willpower to deal with unruly customers, keep a positive attitude and take their careers seriously, then it should be easy to apply these same principles to other aspects of their life. This turned out to not be the case.

After being give the gym memberships and diet courses, the employees did not show the same willpower. I was definitely able to identify with this. Most of the times after a long week of studying for an exam or a long day at work, other things in my life take a backseat. Whether it’s my love life, the gym or whatever, some times I just cannot muster the strength.

I do think now after this reading that willpower plays a major role. Now that I know that, I will attempt to make a habit of my schedule to see if it helps me. I will try writing out my day in detail like the guy who had the hip surgery and see if it works for me in the same way. This chapter was definitely another great eyeopener!

Robin Caffey said...

The study of teaching pre-schoolers to control their temptation for marshmallows. By teaching them at such a young age to resist their temptations it spilled over into the rest of their life. after being talked to later on in life the once pre-schoolers reported using less drugs and being more self disciplined than their peers.

Jessica H. said...

The Travis and Starbucks example was the most interesting to me. Your environment can influence the situations that one can be involved in.

I can relate to this example. My environment is not the best. But your willpower moves you in the right direction to succeed and achieve greater things.