Willpower Doesn’t Work | Benjamin P. Hardy

Summary of: Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success
By: Benjamin P. Hardy


In today’s fast-paced world, relying on willpower to reach your goals can prove to be ineffective. ‘Willpower Doesn’t Work’ by Benjamin P. Hardy shows us that the key to success is not in exercising self-control, but in creating an environment that supports our objectives. Change your surroundings to promote both high-stress productivity and high-recovery relaxation, and you will be more likely to achieve your goals. Embrace peak experiences to enhance creativity, and remove distractions to improve focus. In this book summary, we will explore these insights and many more, providing you with the tools to optimize your environment for success.

The Power of Environment

Willpower alone is not enough to achieve your goals. Our environment plays a crucial role. Our powers of self-control are almost always exhausted these days because our environment works against us. When it comes to people, many of us are like animals in the wild undergoing natural evolution. We’re often unable to change our environments, so we adapt to them instead – regardless of whether this benefits us in the long run. The key is to design an environment that leaves you no choice but to “adapt” into your ideal self. In this book, the author provides valuable insights into how we can use the power of our environment to improve our lives.

Separate Spaces for Work and Play

Working from home can prove challenging, especially when trying to balance work and relaxation in the same space. The author suggests designing separate environments optimized for work and play. A manageable level of stress called eustress can actually increase our productivity, and designing environments with it in mind is essential. The author uses the example of entrepreneur Courtney Reynolds, who has two homes, one for work and one for play. Research shows that breakthrough ideas mostly occur outside work, making relaxation necessary. By tapping into this aspect of human psychology, we work best when we switch between pure work and pure play, making it easier for our mind to function in both modes.

Embrace Peak Experiences

Tsh Oxenreider’s life lacked direction despite having goals and plans. However, traveling the globe with her family led to a newfound sense of purpose, and she realized the benefits of peak experiences. These rare, exhilarating moments can enhance creativity by allowing individuals to think with heightened perception and sensitivity. One does not need to wait long to have a peak experience. To make them a regular part of one’s life, it is necessary to disconnect and go somewhere unfamiliar, write in a journal and reflect on everything there is to be thankful for in life, and identify big picture dreams. Breaking out of mundane routines prepares the mind for peak experiences, which can offer that much-needed spark of inspiration.

Act Decisively: Remove Dead Weight

In this book, Gary B. Sabin shares a story about a Boy Scout who willingly spent a cold night in the desert rather than pack his sleeping bag the next morning. This is a metaphor for how we avoid discomfort and make illogical decisions. We often delay making tough choices and suffer long-term regret as a result. Sabin suggests that the solution is simple: act decisively and organize our lives in accordance with our goals.

One way we hamper our long-term goals is by wasting time on the internet. By deleting distractions and temptation-proofing our phone, we can focus on important tasks without succumbing to superficial attractions. De-cluttering our lives also helps decision-making feel easier. Sabin suggests that we reflect on our potential decisions, identify the options that suit our goals, and eliminate everything else from the picture. Removing dead weight in our lives allows us to act confidently and decisively towards achieving our goals.

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