The Willpower Muscle

If I haven’t said it recently, let me apologize. The caliber of individual that this community attracts, is incredible. So, here’s me tipping my hat to our student body.

I recently read an article that a student shared with me about this element we call will power. The article, written so beautifully by James Clear, titled “How Will Power Works: Decision Fatigue and How to Avoid Bad Choices” struck me. The article investigates what we call will power and how it works.

Often understood as an either-you-got-it-or-you-don’t type of skill, willpower, as Clear describes, willpower as more of a muscle. It, just like your quads, can fatigue overtime. And, as someone that is quick to think anything can be solved with a little extra effort, I began to realize that not only are we probably more powerful when we conserve and use our willpower wisely, that it’s possible to run out of willpower if we tap into it too much.

The author so brilliantly references a study of judges and their likelihood of granting parole. It was found that over the course of thousands of test subjects that the variable that most contributed to the decision was not the nature of the crime, nor was it the behavior of the inmate in prison, it was, in fact, the time of day. Earlier in the day judges were most likely to grant parole, while later in the day those chances dwindled to zero. Furthermore, there was another spike in the rate of parole grants after the lunch break, which later dwindled after the onset of “decision fatigue” set on these judges.

I feel this everyday. At the end of a day of business, I’m completely exhausted with decisions large or small.

Can you relate? Mr. Clear describes decision making as a great source of fatigue and that we can “plan” or “automate” decisions to save energy and accomplish more without abusing our various levels of willpower.


Logan Gelbrich



10/3/13 WOD

In 10 minutes, complete:

20 Strict Pull Ups


25 Double Unders

10 Deadlifts (285/200)