The Lesson: Known as the queen of virtues, “improving your willpower is the surest way to a better life,” says Roy Baumeister, one of the most cited research psychologists in the world. And, the good news is you can train your brain to get better at self-control. Some of these tips (like staying well fed) are surprising, but their value is based on scientific studies proving effectiveness.

Notable Excerpt: “Glucose depletion is one of the best ways to annihilate your willpower. Well fed + well rested equals a different version of you. Another way to boost your willpower is to tidy up. They’ve done experiments where they show people a messy desk and a messy website, vs a clean desk and website… and the individuals who saw the messy desk and website had diminished willpower. Simply tidying up, being in a clean environment increases your willpower. This is a really cool way to be on the offense.”

The Speaker: Brian Johnson is a philosopher and founder of, a website, app, and free video series that help people to optimize their lives so they can be their best selves. He studies self-improvement books, then breaks them down into bite-sized chunks and ‘Philosopher‘s Notes’ for busy people who want ‘more wisdom in less time’. He also offers Optimal Living classes and online training for your Hero’s Journey.

Podcast: Brian’s podcast, OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson, features the best Big Ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time (between 4-19 minutes each) to help you live your greatest life. Subscribe: Stitcher — iTunes — Podbean.

Featured Books: In “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”, one of the world’s most esteemed and influential psychologists, Roy F. Baumeister, teams with New York Times science writer John Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master it.

(WATCH this inspiring video from the Philosopher Notes TV archive) – Photo by Samuel Clara

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