Wednesday, October 12, 2011


“The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.”  ~Korman’s Law

“Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.”  ~ Robert Orben

“There is a charm about the forbidden than makes it unspeakably desirable.”  ~Mark Twain

Abstainer, n.  A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

I’ve been thinking about willpower today.  Today was a rough day.  There were so many opportunities for me to really mess up. 

What I’ve noticed is that willpower is not intestinal fortitude.  It is not a character trait.  It is a series of choices in which you make in a split second each time.

Think about it.  You find a wallet.  Do you keep the money?  You know the thought crosses your mind.  You end up trying very hard to find the person it belongs to and returning it.  You’ve made a choice. 

Today, it was the choice between the stairs or the elevator.  The elevator was WIDE OPEN!  It was screaming to me, “Come into the bosom of my comfort and muzak.  I will whisk you up to the fifth floor and you won’t experience the discomfort of climbing the stairs.” 
I took the stairs.  The elevator doors closed in disgust.

There was a birthday at our office today.  There was some really delicious looking cake sitting on the counter all afternoon.  “You know you want me.  Look at me all dressed up in this slinky sugar glaze, filled with pudding so creamy that your very being will transcend into light!”

I walked away.  Like 5 times.  It was like a siren call in the kitchen.  I lashed myself to my chair in my office using the phone to drown out the sweet siren song and answered phone calls and filled prescriptions.

I have figured out that willpower  is just a series of daily choices.  Willpower isn’t  a moral compass which tells you what is good and bad.  Not having willpower isn’t a lack of character.  Think about it.  What if you followed the credo to live each day as if it were your last.  Would you give in to the chocolate shake’s frothy call, or would you say, “Oh no, I’m hoping to have a great body for the casket later today.” (Probably not the best example, hm?)
It’s just making choices. 

I’ve discovered that it is a lot more difficult to make the choices which are harder when you’re tired.  I almost succumbed to ordering Chinese tonight.  “C’mon Mom, Let’s order Chinese! or Pizza!  You know you want it!” 

I did.  I really did.  I was very tired and didn’t want to cook. 

I was close.  Hand on the receiver....looking up the phone number....AGGGHH!  NOOOOOOO!!!!!

I found a quick shrimp stir-fry with zucchini and I added some other vegetables and made some Israeli whole wheat couscous.  It took 30 minutes, and the kids cleaned up.  More importantly, they liked it and stopped clamoring for take out. 

I will leave you with this quote:

“I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it”  ~Mae West

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